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Beef Buzz News


Dr. Rosslyn Biggs: Keep an Eye Out for Dust Pneumonia in Cattle During Dry Conditions

Tue, 19 Apr 2022 07:53:41 CDT

Dr. Rosslyn Biggs: Keep an Eye Out for Dust Pneumonia in Cattle During Dry Conditions With dry weather taking a toll on most of Oklahoma, controlling dust to protect the health of cattle is becoming a more prevalent issue for ranchers, says Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, Director of Continuing Education for the College of Veterinary Medicine for Oklahoma State University. Dr. Biggs, who also works in extension for OSU as a veterinary specialist said concerns about dust pneumonia are becoming more common.

“Dust pneumonia, of course, is a sporadic respiratory condition that we typically see more in a feedlot setting,” Biggs said. “But we can see it in this time of year, especially if people are starting to gather up or wean calves from the fall.”

The veterinary name for dust pneumonia, Biggs said, is Acute Interstitial Pneumonia. One of the complications, Biggs added, is it is hard to tell an animal has dust pneumonia until it has advanced pretty far.

“There are no flashing signs that say it is acute interstitial pneumonia,” Biggs said. “It is one of those things we have got to be watching from that animal husband review.”

Dust pneumonia, Biggs said, is something that is better off prevented before a problem arises. Early intervention is key, she added, because many cases do not end well.

When calves and cattle are penned up, or being gathered in the dust, Biggs said it is important to be proactive and try to control that dust beforehand, particularly if the cattle will be fed in the same pens.
“The component to it is not that the dust necessarily directly causes pneumonia, but it is all these precipitating factors,” Biggs said. “They have a component of heat stress- we now have an environment that is full of contaminants, so to speak, with dust, and let’s be honest, with dust in a pen it also aerosolizes bit of manure with that too.”

Breathing in those conditions for cattle can be challenging, Biggs said, so it is critical to have a good vaccination plan and herd health plan well in advance.

“We want to have our cows vaccinated ideally before we breed and we want to have vaccination plans for our calves,” Biggs said. “Ideally, it is one of those things- if it works for your operation- trying to get those vaccines in them around branding time and then following up with a booster as outlined by your veterinarian.”

We want to have those preventatives in place, Biggs said, and we want to control those environmental conditions as best we can to try to keep those stresses to a minimum.

Other types of stress such as weaning and transport are important to factor in as well, Biggs said.

“We want to have our eyes wide open,” Biggs said. “These things can kind of sneak up on us and we want to be watching them close.”

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from OSU’s Rosslyn Biggs on preventing dust pneumonia in your herd.


The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well.


   

   

Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Dr. Rosslyn Biggs
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