Causes of Bovine Pneumonia

The aetiology of Bovine Pneumonia is multifactorial, stress and infectious agents both play a major role.

Stress in intensive cattle production

Stress is a major predisposing factor to Pneumonia outbreaks.

Transportation over long distances serves as a stressor as it may be associated with:

  • Exhaustion
  • Starvation
  • Dehydration
  • Chilling and overheating depending on weather conditions
  • Exposure to vehicle exhaust fumes.

Additional stressors on cattle destined for feedlots are:

  • Passage through auction markets
  • Commingling
  • Processing
  • Surgical procedures on arrival at the feedlot
  • Dusty environmental conditions
  • Nutritional stress associated with a change to high-energy rations in the feedlot.

Infectious agents

Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida are consistently isolated from the lungs of sick cattle. These pathogens are associated with a high mortality rate.

Other pathogens that may also be responsible in the aetiology of the disease include:

  • Respiratory viruses:- PI-3, RS, IBR, BVD
  • Other bacteria e.g. Histophilus somni

Pastuerella multocida

Pasteurella multocida
Courtesy of Inst. for Animal Health, Compton, UK

Treatment of infectious agents

Read about an antibiotic that targets P. multocida and M. haemolytica.

The aetiology of Bovine Pneumonia is multifactorial.