Friday, 19 January 2024 09:55

Avoiding pneumonia at a high-risk time

Written by  Staff Reporters
Some simple management ideas can reduce the risk of production limiting diseases like pneumonia and pleurisy in lambs. Some simple management ideas can reduce the risk of production limiting diseases like pneumonia and pleurisy in lambs.

Weaning, drafting, drenching and shearing create the perfect environment for pneumonia and pleurisy in lambs.

However, some simple management ideas can reduce the risk of these production limiting diseases.

Pneumonia is a disease that causes lesions in the lungs. The most common form is Chronic Non-Progressive Pneumonia which can be caused by bacteria, mycobacteria or viruses.

Symptoms are usually not obvious, although lambs will be slower growing and often pant and cough following exercise.

Lambs with pneumonia are more likely to develop pleurisy, which is where lungs stick to the chest wall. At processing, affected carcasses are downgraded or condemned.

A 2000/2001 study carried out on a database of 1719 farms in Canterbury, Manawatu and Gisborne found the prevalence of pneumonia ranged from 0–100% per flock. But on average, flocks had 24% of lambs affected.

The number of flocks with some pneumonia present ranged from 40–70% – in other words it is very common and costly. Slower growing lambs cost more to feed and then their carcasses are downgraded.

Risk factors include high temperatures and humidity, crowding, stress, dust, excessive exercise, poor ventilation, low immunity and high parasite burdens.

Preventing Pneumonia

  • A healthy animal with good nutrition, up-to-date animal health and minimal stressors are at reduced risk of developing pneumonia.
  • Keep the time of yarding lambs to a minimum.
  • Water the yards before use to reduce dust.
  • Keep mob sizes small to reduce animal stress and dust inhalation.
  • Avoid shearing lambs at weaning.
  • Minimise the stock movement in the middle of the day when dust levels are highest and avoid long distance movements where possible.
  • Reduce the extent and duration of open-mouth panting when mustering or droving lambs.
  • Satellite yards can reduce long-distance movements. Try and reduce pressure on lambs when droving, laneways are ideal as allow lamb to drift at their own pace.

More like this

Learn how Lepto could be impacting your farm

Leptospirosis is widespread on New Zealand livestock farms and a webinar, hosted by Zoetis on March 19, will provide resource, and offer insights into understanding and preventing the disease.

FE spore counts climb

As New Zealand swelters in record hot and humid conditions, dairy farmers need to be more vigilant than usual against facial eczema (FE) as spore counts start to climb.

Farmers urged to have their say on INZB funding

Farmers are being encouraged to have their say on a New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB) proposal to continue funding the Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) genetics programme and supporting a new facial eczema research project.

Beware - FE is here!

A disease that costs the primary industry more than $200 million a year is potentially coming to a place near you soon.


Lower Aus exports, good news for NZ

Australia's dairy import and export mix is "slowly trading places" with export volumes falling sharply in recent years while imports have spiked, according to Rabobank.

Taylor-made for recovery

A year ago, Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc at family-owned Taylors orchard and packhouse in Hawke's Bay.

Covid's urban/rural divide

According to a new study from the University of Otago, there was a visible rural/urban divide in Covid-19 vaccination rates.

Long-term plan needed

Well before Cyclone Gabrielle struck, Richard Burke was advocating for a long-term sustainable infrastructure plan for the Tairawhiti region.


An annual event?

Meat Industry Association chief executive, Sirma Karapeeva, says she hopes that National Lamb Day will now take place every year.

Selling the value of lamb

The meat industry has a job to sell the value proposition of lamb, says Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.

Winning back farmer trust

One year into her role as Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair, Kate Acland is continuing to work hard and…

Tough times on farm

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair Kate Acland says while farmers are quite positive about the new Government, the economic…

Machinery & Products

Norwood's deal with SKY

Norwood has signed an exclusive New Zealand distribution agreement with the Burel Group for the SKY Agriculture brand.

Killing weed seeds in a single pass

John Deere's X-Series Combine Harvesters can now be complemented by the advanced weed control capability of Redekop’s Seed Control Unit…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bureaucratic insanity

OPINION: The Hound reckons if farmers in this country think they've got a problem with the small-minded officious bureaucrats imposing…

Tone deaf?

OPINION: Your old mate can't believe the absolute brass neck of the directors at Beef + Lamb NZ who are…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter