Montana State University

MSU Extension and Washington State University researchers seek information from Montana cattle producers and veterinarians

September 2, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Researchers from Montana State University Extension and Washington State University are asking Montana beef cattle producers and veterinarians to participate in a voluntary online survey to learn more about a novel form of neonatal calf pneumonia found in Montana.

Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension beef specialist, and colleagues at WSU said that a unique form of neonatal calf pneumonia has been diagnosed in several Montana beef herds over the last 6-8 years. The majority of affected calves are relatively normal at birth, but go on to develop signs of pneumonia within the first 1-4 days of life and die due to respiratory failure, Endecott said. A small proportion of calves with this problem are born dead, she added.

Samples from these animals have been submitted to veterinary diagnostic laboratories where they were diagnosed with pneumonia, but a specific cause was not identified, according to Endecott. Researchers believe that affected herds typically experience a three to five percent (or greater) increase in calf losses associated with this problem the first year it is recognized, and 0.5-1.0 percent greater calf losses in subsequent calving years. Endecott said more information is needed to better understand the problem.     

MSU Extension and WSU researchers will use the data collected through these surveys to help investigate the prevalence of this unique form of neonatal calf pneumonia in Montana and better estimate its impact on producers, Endecott said. The survey results will then be used to help guide a study to determine the cause of the disease and develop a treatment and/or management strategy to prevent calf losses.

Endecott noted the survey should take only a couple of minutes.

“We appreciate the involvement of all beef cattle producers and veterinarians in helping us better understand this illness so that we can manage it appropriately,” Endecott said.

The surveys can be found online at http://animalrangeextension.montana.edu/beef.

Contact: Rachel Endecott, (406) 994-3747 or Rachel.endecott@montana.edu