January 2021 Newsletter – Pneumonia: More than just a cough

River Valley Veterinary Clinic

January 2021 Newsletter

By Dustin Lochner, DVM


!!!!Happy New Year!!!!

 ***Large Animal Phone Number Change***

For our large animal clients whom usually utilize the Reedsburg phone number 608-524-8814, as of January 15, 2021 this number will no longer be forwarded to our Plain office.  We will continue to retain this number for our small animal clients and all calls to this number will go directly to our Reedsburg office.  Therefore this number will no longer be used as an emergency phone line for large animal emergencies in the Reedsburg and surrounding areas.  We ask that you instead make a note and call one of our Plain office numbers instead for any large animal related sick calls, scheduling, or emergencies.  The phone number for our Plain office is 608-546-4911 or if you call with a landline you can also use our toll free number 1-800-546-4921.

We know that old habits die hard, so if you call the Reedsburg phone number for a large animal emergency after hours there will be a message directing you to call our Plain office.  It’s important to remember that if you have a large animal emergency, DO NOT leave a message at our Reedsburg office as that line will not be monitored and the large animal doctor on call will not receive the message through that line!

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your continued business!

Zoetis Draxxin Rebate

For 2021, Zoetis has a rebate program for non-Leader’s Edge clients for the purchase of qualifying bottles of Draxxin.  The rebates are as follows: 100ml Draxxin = $100 rebate, 250ml Draxxin = $200 rebate, and 500ml Draxxin = $400 rebate.  This rebate program is for Draxxin purchases between January1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.  For those clients that are not apart of the Leader’s Edge program from Zoetis, to get the rebate follow these steps with every Draxxin purchase:  1) Text Draxxin to 24272 to receive a link to the rebate website (or scan the QR code that is sent), 2) Snap a photo of the itemized receipt with your qualifying Draxxin purchase and upload it to the website, then 3) Select the payment type – PayPal, Venmo, or paper check to receive your rebate amount, and 4) either enter an email address (PayPal), username (Venmo), or mailing address (paper check).  If you’ve purchased a qualifying amount of Draxxin already and are an eligible client, follow the steps above to get your rebate all year.

Pneumonia: More Than Just a Cough

We are near the midway point of winter, but respiratory challenges have been going since late September and won’t start to subside until about mid April.  Pneumonia in cattle, as you know, can have a significant impact on the rest of the animal’s life, especially if not addressed quickly and the earlier in life the animal develops pneumonia.

What are signs of pneumonia?  Typically we think of an animal that is coughing, possibly with a snotty nose, increased respiratory rate, not eating well, and hanging back or sluggish within a group.  These are excellent indicators of pneumonia, or in the least, that an animal is not healthy or feeling good.  A two-week old calf with scours can often times can mimic some of the signs of pneumonia because of dehydration and acidosis.  When a calf becomes noticeably sick from scours due to dehydration and acidosis, they won’t clean and lick their noses as well or as frequently as a healthy calf.  Acidosis in a calf will also lead to increased respiratory rates and mimic another sign of pneumonia and mucus build up isn’t cleared as readily or easily, which can cause an occasional cough.  On these calves, listening to the lungs with a stethoscope, and even ultrasounding the lungs, will help to determine if there is a potential case of pneumonia in these young calves (provided you know what healthy lungs sound like).  In most cases of a scouring calf, correcting the dehydration and acidosis will clear up those signs we associate with pneumonia.

What about fever and inflammation as signs of pneumonia?  Almost always with a case of pneumonia, especially an acute case, a fever and localized inflammation occur too.  When an infection of the body occurs, whether by virus or by bacteria, the immune system jumps into action to fight off the infection.  Two of the defensive mechanisms that are triggered are a fever and localized inflammation which raises the temperature of the body and tissue and helps to kill off the intruding bacteria or virus.  When you treat a case of pneumonia with an antibiotic, you are helping the body’s natural defense mechanisms.  Antibiotics will kill certain types of bacteria, good or bad, but most importantly the ones that most often lead to pneumonia.  Antibiotics won’t however kill a virus.  The body usually has to fight off viruses on its own, and can usually do this better with the help of vaccines or passive immunity from colostrum.  Antibiotics in the face of a viral pneumonia will help prevent or control a secondary bacterial infection that may occur due to the tissues being damaged and more susceptible to bacterial infection.

What to do about fever and inflammation?  Fever and inflammation aren’t completely a bad thing.  As discussed above they help naturally fight off an infection.  Prolonged periods of fever and inflammation can be problematic, however, as the mechanisms leading to fever also lead to aches, pains, and discomfort and inflammation can lead to more tissue destruction and eventual scarring or fibrin build up.  To keep fever and inflammation in check, the use of a NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) like flunixin meglumine (aka Banamine), aspirin, or meloxicam should be used along with an antibiotic.  An animal battling a case of pneumonia will greatly benefit from a NSAID as it reduces inflammation in the respiratory tract and also reduces fever, aches, and pains that occur as the body fights the infection. This will result in the animal recovering faster and coming back on feed sooner compared to those that don’t receive a NSAID during pneumonia treatment.  Use of a NSAID may require a few consecutive days of treatment to get complete recovery, as long as the antibiotic being used is also effective in reducing the bacterial infection.

If you look in your medicine cabinet at the medications commonly used during cold and flu season for people, you’ll find in the drugs listed things like Acetaminophen to reduce fever and relieve pain.  Acetaminophen is a NSAID used in people for the same purposes that we use NSAIDs in cattle.  Be certain that it is truly pneumonia that an animal is sick with and if it is, give them an NSAID to help them feel better and recover sooner like you would for yourself.

Animal Chiropractic Services Offered

Dr. Sam will now be providing Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (VSMT) (aka animal chiropractic) for small animals, large animals, and small ruminant patients. Dr. Sam is a member of the College of Animal Chiropractors. She has completed the Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy certification program at the Healing Oasis, the only nationally accredited institution for VSMT.

VSMT is a therapeutic assessment and treatment of the animal’s musculoskeletal system.  It is similar to the chiropractic assessment and treatment done on humans.  The goal of VSMT is to ensure motion within all vertebrae or to bring back motion to fixed or hypo mobile vertebrae.  This is accomplished by applying a directed force at a specified anatomical location.  Performing VSMT allows the release of entrapped joint or disc tissue, stretches and breaks up adhesions (scar tissue) and stretches the muscles.  This stimulates the brain as well as specific muscle receptors that can dampen pain, increase range of motion of the joint and, therefore, improve mobility.

What are some indications that your animal could benefit from VSMT?  Unexplained lameness, muscle weakness, pain, behavioral changes, sport injuries, urinary or fecal incontinence, etc.

Please call the office if you would like more information or would like to book an appointment with Dr. Sam. She is able to make farm calls, house calls, or in office appointments (small animal only) at this time.