The effect of enrofloxacin therapy was investigated in 110 male double-muscled cattle weighing 275 +/- 3 kg, during a spontaneous outbreak of shipping fever occurring 11 +/- 2 days after they arrived in the feedlot. Forty-six diseased animals were divided randomly into three groups A, B and C, containing 17, 19 and 10 animals, respectively; the animals in group A were injected intramuscularly once daily for three consecutive days with 2.5 mg/kg of enrofloxacin, those in group B with 5 mg/kg of enrofloxacin and those in group C with 10 mg/kg of oxytetracycline. Clinical, serological, production and respiratory functional observations were recorded. The animals were clinically cured after the three day treatment except for three in group A and two in group C. These five animals made a clinical recovery after a three day booster treatment with a dose of 5 mg/kg enrofloxacin. The changes in respiratory gas exchange values induced by shipping fever were completely reversed 15 days later, suggesting that there had been no irreversible lung damage. The daily weight gains and the arterial blood gas values of the three groups of treated cattle were not significantly different. The high efficacy of the low dosage of enrofloxacin in this clinical syndrome may be explained by its antibacterial activity against Pasteurella species and Mycoplasma species. This field trial supports the in vitro studies which suggested than enrofloxacin is an appropriate therapy in cases of shipping fever.
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