Respiratory Disease

by: Dr. G.F. Kennedy

I posted a short article about Raspy Lambs and added a tag, pneumonia, and that tag has been constantly viewed so we decided we should broaden the scope. Respiratory disease is probably the most important disease in sheep and it can range from the insignificant such as OPP or the widely used term “barn cough”. It affects all ages and breeds and all differently. The OPP zealots would say its all OPP and guys like me would say its all Pasteurella. The Pasteurella, that doesn’t exist anymore, its now Mannheimia. Basically with respiratory disease in sheep we are working with gram negative bacteria that respond to drugs like Nuflor, Oxytetracycline, Draxxin and others. Penicillin doesn’t help. My method of administration is always subcutaneous and I would not recommend the neck area. Early diagnosis and prompt and extended treatment are essential for successful treatment of individual animals. In valuable animals, I am inclined to use Nuflor and Draxxin simultaneously. The Nuflor causes an immediate effect and the Draxxin causes a prolonged effect. I always use six cc of Nuflor per 100 pounds of body weight and repeat in 48 hours if the condition was serious.

Unnamed and unknown viruses may be involved and I certainly wonder about them when I encounter “barn cough”.A lot of these lambs don’t develop clinical signs of pneumonia, but the growth rate may be slowed and rectal prolapses may become a constant problem. The use of sulfas in the water are are a consideration for treatment and results vary. Elimination of manure pact to reduce ammonia gas is important. Dust can be irritating as well. Injecting the entire group with antibiotics may reduce cough but it may come back.

Another recommended practice is a dosage of Sulfadimethoxine or Sulfamethazine in the drinking water for five days at the rate of one pint to 20 to 25 gallons of drinking water.

There are certainly breed differences when it comes to incidence and susceptibility. It’s difficult to find an old style Rambouillet with pneumonia and in days past it was easy to find a Finn sheep with respiratory signs.

The key is to select the right drugs, early detection, prompt and prolonged treatment to avoid relapses that do not respond well to treatment.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
This entry was posted in 2013 Sheep Questions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Respiratory Disease

  1. traci says:

    could you use the Sulfadimethoxine with goats as well??

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