August 18, 2023

How to Treat Pneumonia in Calves Naturally

Aims

This is the third article in a series of three that addresses calf health from birth to weaning. Previous articles have discussed housing systems and ventilation [2] and the prevention of diarrhoea in pre-weaned calves [4].

Pneumonia is a common disease of young calves, particularly in the summer when temperatures are warmer and colostrum protection has run out. In most herds that have had a pneumonia problem, it seems to occur in young calves up to about a month of age – the same calf population that is at greatest risk from poor colostrum intake as newborns and from exposure to older calves that are already sick and shedding high levels of infectious agents.

The causes of pneumonia appear to be many and complex. They include:

Poor colostrum intake at the time of birth. Exposure to older animals that are shedding high levels of infectious agents (but not necessarily sick themselves). Dusty conditions that interfere with the respiratory tract’s normal defense mechanisms.

A wide range of treatment options has been shown to be effective in treating pneumonia – including the use of antibiotics and a range of home remedies. Some of these include honey which is believed to have cough suppressant properties, garlic which has natural antibiotic properties and eucalyptus oil which can help to clear airways and reduce inflammation. However, it is always wise to consult with your veterinarian before trying any home treatment regime for pneumonia. They will be able to advise you on what is likely to be most effective based on your herd and environmental circumstances.

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