The effect of clenbuterol hydrochloride on the course of disease in calves with a natural bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection was examined. Six calves (three to nine months of age) originating from four herds with respiratory tract disease and serological evidence of a bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection were used in this study. The calves were injected intravenously with clenbuterol hydrochloride. The effect of clenbuterol on the course of disease was measured using the PO2 in blood taken from an indwelling canula inserted in the caudal auricular artery and by clinical signs. Clenbuterol did not improve clinical signs. After clenbuterol administration arterial PO2 values decreased significantly in five out of six patients. Six to eight hours after medication the mean arterial PO2 values were higher than initial values. The moderate positive effect of clenbuterol after six to eight hours may be caused by enhancing ciliary activity and by the secretolytic activity of clenbuterol.
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