Article Text

PDF
Randomised positive control trial of NSAID and antimicrobial treatment for calf fever caused by pneumonia
  1. S. A. Mahendran, BVMedSci BVM BVS (hons) MSc (VetEpi) MRCVS1,
  2. R. Booth, BVSc, PhD, BSc (hons), MRCVS2,
  3. M. Burge, BVetMed (hons), MRCVS3 and
  4. N. J. Bell, MA, VetMB, PhD, PG cert Vet. Ed., FHEA, dipECAWBM (AWSEL), MRCVS2
  1. 1Ferncroft Farm, Dorset BH20 7PG, UK
  2. 2Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, Herts AL9 7TA, UK
  3. 3Damory Veterinary Clinic, Blandford DT11 7QT, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: s.a.mahendran8{at}gmail.com

Abstract

One hundred and fifty-four preweaning calves were followed between May and October 2015. Calves were fitted with continuous monitoring temperature probes (TempVerified FeverTag), programmed so a flashing light emitting diode (LED) light was triggered following six hours of a sustained ear canal temperature of ≥39.7°C. A total of 83 calves (61.9 per cent) developed undifferentiated fever, with a presumptive diagnosis of pneumonia through exclusion of other calf diseases. Once fever was detected, calves were randomly allocated to treatment groups. Calves in group 1 (NSAID) received 2 mg/kg flunixin meglumine (Allevinix, Merial) for three consecutive days and group 2 (antimicrobial) received 6 mg/kg gamithromycin (Zactran, Merial). If fever persisted for 72 hours after the initial treatment, calves were given further treatment (group 1 received antimicrobial and group 2 received NSAID). Calves in group 1 (NSAID) were five times more likely (P=0.002) to require a second treatment (the antimicrobial) after 72 hours to resolve the fever compared with the need to give group 2 (antimicrobial) calves a second treatment (NSAID). This demonstrates the importance of ongoing monitoring and follow-up of calves with respiratory disease. However, of calves with fever in group 1 (NSAID), 25.7 per cent showed resolution following NSAID-only treatment with no detrimental effect on the development of repeated fever or daily live weight gain. This suggests that NSAID alone may be a useful first-line treatment, provided adequate attention is given to ongoing monitoring to identify those cases that require additional antimicrobial treatment.

  • Calves
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antimicrobials
View Full Text

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Provenance: not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

  • Twitter Follow Nick Bell @nickBell8

  • Competing interests The TempVerified FeverTags were provided to the study by FeverTags LLC, Amarillo, Texas, USA. The NSAID Allevinix and antimicrobial Zactran were provided by Merial UK.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.