Most outbreaks of pneumonia occur in young animals during late summer and autumn. Pneumonia is caused by the complex combination of an infectious agent, compromised sheep immunity (weaners are most susceptible) and environmental conditions, especially hot, dry, dusty conditions.
• Affected sheep may develop a cough, nasal discharge and may lag behind the mob. Mild cases however may go unnoticed but growth rates are affected.
• A large proportion of the mob may be affected with pneumonia but few deaths should occur.
• Signs of pneumonia will subside after 4-6 weeks, however there may be lasting adhesions between the lungs and chest wall which are detected at the abattoir and trimmed from the carcase.
Based on history and clinical signs.
Antibiotic treatment may be used (consult your veterinarian).
• Drive sheep slowly and allow sheep to walk slowly back to their paddocks after yarding.
• Avoid overcrowding in yards or prolonged or unnecessary yarding.
• Avoid yarding in hot, dry and/or dusty conditions, if unavoidable try to work early in the morning and consider hosing yards to reduce dust.
• Minimise stress - avoid mixing mobs and sudden diet change, provide shelter, ensure good nutrition and appropriate vaccinations, drenching and supplements.
• Be careful not to lift the head of the sheep too high when drenching and avoid plunge dipping thirsty sheep.
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