Today we will look at the contagious bovine pleuropneumonia disease commonly known as “lung sickness”.
About this particular condition we often hear from farmers: “My bull’s head stretched out and struggles to breathe.”
Lung sickness is caused by a bacterium known as the Mycoplasma mycoides, which shows the ability to form colonies when cultured in the laboratory by scientists.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia affects the bovine species, such cattle, and water buffalo. However, it also affects the captive bison and the yak in the wild.
Lung sickness attacks the lungs and the membranes that line the thoracic cavity causing fever. Affected animals tend to have difficulty in breathing, and this poses a serious concern in a herd.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia is a massively contagious respiratory disease in cattle, which may result in cattle losses. Follow all guidelines from veterinarians in case of an outbreak.
How is lung sickness transmitted?
- Through inhalation of air droplets from infected animals, especially when animals are in close proximity. Hence the spread of lung sickness is significantly higher.
Which factors contribute to the spread of lung sickness?
Frequent when animals are overstocked in a small area, in this case a or fence promulgates the spread of lung sickness in a cattle herd. Moreover, it has been noted that the lung sickness spreads drastically during transportation of infected and non-infected animals in trucks, trains etc.
- Carrier animals
Also referred to as “lungers”, these include animals that have recovered from the disease but still have the disease in their system . So they continue being the source of infection to other cattle in the herd.
- Uncontrolled movement
Often happens when new cattle are introduced into the herd without sufficient quarantine time. Hence, disease may spread from the newl arrivals to the already existing herd.
- Failure to report
When a farmer suspects lung sickness, delays in reporting the case to health experts and veterinarians is highly discouraged. Therefore, farming communities are urged to report any suspicious cases to the relevant authorities with immediate effect.
What to look for when you suspect contagious bovine pleuropneumonia ?
- Difficulty in breathing in particular a whizzing sound
- Clear mucus discharge from the nose or mouth
- Decreased appetite
- General depression pattern
- Droopy ears
What can you do as a farmer?
- Report immediately to a veterinarian or health expert in the area
- Avoid mixing your herd to new arrivals prior to quarantine
- Isolate sick animals
- Minimize overcrowding
What is the impact of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia in the beef sector?
- Reported to have high mortality rates, which causes economic losses.
- Farmers incur in more cost as they have to purchase medication for treatment on the affected animals.
- Reduction in carcass yield .
Did you know?
- Humans are not known to be susceptible to lung sickness, so there is no public health risk.
- Lung sickness was first recognized in Germany in 1693.
Diseases in a herd can have deleterious effect. Always take caution and seek for immediate help from veterinarians and animal health experts.