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Increase in cattle illness cases warning.

THE wet autumn this year will lead to increased cases of pneumonia in cattle, an expert warned farmers in the North East yesterday.

English Beef and Lamb Executive (Eblex) chief veterinary scientist Derek Armstrong gave the warning as new figures show cases of the disease are higher than last year.

With the upcoming winter expected to be wet, following on from one of the wettest late autumns for years, farmers are preparing for the fight against lungworm and pneumonia.

Surveillance by the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) shows that reported cases of enzootic pneumonia are higher than compared with this time last year.

NADIS also reported that there is an increased risk to cattle from lungworm due to this year's wet conditions.

This also leaves the cattle more susceptible to both viral and bacterial infections.

Clinical pneumonia is estimated to cost around pounds 80 per affected calf and the chronic respiratory infections significantly reduces both liveweight gains and carcase classifications.

Derek Armstrong suggested a number of measures farmers should use to prevent their cattle catching pneumonia or lungworm.

He said: "All farmers need to ensure all buildings are sufficiently well-ventilated and they can avoid high humidity levels by fixing any leaking gutters and water troughs."

He added: "Farmers need to maintain at least 15m' of air space per animal and 8m2 of ridge ventilation per 100 head and keeping muck and bedding build-up down preserves the right air space and humidity level."

Other advice for farmers includes: Avoiding mixing calves of different groups and ages to reduce stress, only use antibiotics and anti-inflammatories after correct diagnosis of bacterial infections and reduce stocking density to reduce disease pressure when an outbreak occurs.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2008
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