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PAGE 3 Why do calves get pneumonia?
Pneumonia in dairy calves is often referred to as a ‘multifactorial disease’. This means that besides infectious agents, a multitude of environmental and management factors and their interactions are responsible for the outbreak of disease (Figure 1). Many of the infectious agents commonly involved in calf pneumonia are actually present in healthy calves and on farms without causing pneumonia outbreaks. However, these agents can cause pneumonia if the resistance of the calf to disease is reduced. Any one or a combination of the environmental and management factors outlined in this leaflet can make calves more susceptible to disease. The recommendations in this leaflet refer mainly to dairy replacement heifers that are reared on the farm where they have been bred. If male calves born on a dairy farm are kept for beef production they should also be managed according to these recommendations.
Figure 1: The multifactorial nature of calf pneumonia
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