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abbas, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 116
Experience:  B.V.Sc & A.H , worked as vet in farms (cattle,sheep,goat) and vet consultant in canines
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We have had several cattle getting sick with seemingly pneumonia

Customer Question

We have had several cattle getting sick with seemingly pneumonia or respitory problems. We have narrowed it down to moldy hay possibly nitrate poisioning. We took out bull to the vet and they pushed a tube down his throat seemingly pushing something out of the way. Today another cow showed with same symptoma. Should we treat with metheylene blue?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 8 years ago.

Hi, Jay:


Nitrates can cause difficulty breathing, but it is usually a sudden inabilitiy to breathe along with severe tremors, weakness, convulsions and sudden death. Is your herd showing any of these other clinical signs? One definitive way to diagnose nitrate poisoning is by taking a blood sample, and the blood will resemble a chocolate color.


Is your herd showing any other signs of pneumonia, such as fever, nasal discharge, coughing, etc?


Has your vet suggested nitrates as a possibility?


Looking forward to your reply.

Expert:  abbas replied 8 years ago.


have all your cattle got sick with the same symptoms or is it that you feel they might. in any case do you have a vaccination history of the cattle pls do reply with the history of vaccination and their schedules,

waiting for your reply ,


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We have had one more cow show up with the same symptoms but hae decided that our hay we got is moldy not throughout but some. The bull is some better today and beginning to eat and drink a little and is laying down where before he could get down and get immediately back up. The other cow is foaming at the mouth and has distressed breathing like the bull did. We have pulled them off all the hay we think is the problem and are trading it out with our hay supplier for different hay. We are waiting to see how the other cow is. We gave her a shot yesterday and waiting to see if she is better tomorrow. They have been on the oats so hopefully this will move through them and it is not affecting all the other cows as of yet. We have not vaccinated our cows, my 81 year old dad does things the old way, and we will continnue to do so until he is dead and then we will do it the right way. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks,
Expert:  abbas replied 8 years ago.

hi jay ,

if you can , please get them vaccinated against the H.S as most of the cattle prone to the respiratory infections in free range system . also if was raining a week or fortnight ago, also suggested if the recrtal temperatures can assist me further daignosing the disease , thank you


Expert:  abbas replied 8 years ago.

since the rectal tempretures can possibly indicate wether they have associated bacterial infection . further more its advisable to use quinolones if you find temperature elevated .and remain on course of antibiotics for several days till fully recovered


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

The bull seems to be getting better. His breathing has returned to

normal and is eating and drinking a bit. We lost the other cow yesterday. Have determined that it might be the hay so we have taken them off that hay and just watching him. The steroid shots he got are probably what saved him. I will investigate vaccinating the cows against HS in the future. Thanks

Expert:  abbas replied 8 years ago.

hi jay,

sorry to hear that you lost your cow,steroids do help but its advisable to use a antibiotic withgood distribution volumes like enrofloxacin or ciprofloxacin invariably the normal commensale bacteria (pasturella)present in the respiratory tract which usually is not harmful becomes pathogenic and aggrevates the situation causing distressed and laboured breating. this can occur when the animals have low immune levels use of levamisole @2.5 mg /kg body weight has immunomodulation effects .