Pneumonia in lambs

One of the most common causes of death in young lambs is pneumonia, a respiratory disease whereby the lungs become infected and inflamed.

Causes

It is caused by the interaction between bacteria, the lamb’s immune and physical condition and environmental factors.

For orphaned lambs inadequate colostrum intake at birth and exposure to extreme cold and rain is a precursor for this disease.

Bottle fed lambs can developing aspirate pneumonia which occurs when a teat is too fast and milk is breathed into the lungs. As a result it is very important to give bottle fed lambs lots of small breaks during feeding and to check teats do not run too quickly.

Forms of Pneumonia

  1. An acute form with more obvious clinical signs such as depression, coughing, nasal discharge and increased respiratory noise and effort, which can occur in sheep of all ages
  2.  The chronic form, whereby clinical signs may be less apparent, is more common in lambs

Treatment

Lamb are treated with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics such as penicillin. They are kept well hydrated with electrolytes and lamb milk and oxygen is given via a nebulizer if necessary.

Photo showing lamb recovering from pneumonia
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