Having seen our wonderful weather fluctuations here in NE Wisconsin over just the past 10 days (from subzero temps, to over 40⁰ with rain & fog, and then back to subzero), it seems reasonable to consider calfhood pneumonia treatment for the Feb newsletter. Certainly preventing pneumonia by focusing on proper ventilation, dry bedding and a vaccination program appropriate for the situation remain the most important strategies for combatting calfhood pneumonia.
However, several new antibiotic choices have been introduced to the market recently. As a result, it seems appropriate to go over the choices available on the market. This newsletter will briefly discuss the choices of injectable antibiotics labeled for use in heifers less than 20 months of age.
Liquamycin 200 (Biomycin 200, LA 200) – the long acting tetracyclines have been on the market for…well…longer than Dr. Pamela, Dr. Mark & Dr. Brandon have been alive! Tetracycline is the cheapest choice. It can be effective on mild to moderate cases of pneumonia. Each injection maintains systemic levels for about 48 hours.
Micotil 200 – it is a drug from the macrolide family of antibiotics. Micotil also has a 48hr duration following injection. It is quite effective against pneumonia, but its use has declined as newer generation macrolides with longer durations have come onto the market. Another important consideration is that it can be lethal if injected in humans (though none of the drugs listed are recommended for use in humans!).
Nuflor – Nuflor is the only choice available from its class of antibiotics (it’s closely related to chloramphenicol for all of you old-timers reminiscing about the glory days). It has a duration of 48hrs or 96 hrs following injection, depending on the dosage used. It has been on the market for about 20 years. It is effective and remains an important choice in our arsenal of choices. It is not labeled for use against Mycoplasma bovis.
Baytril – Baytril is the only choice available for use in heifers from the flouroquinolone family of drugs. This class of drugs is important for use against Salmonellas in all species. Given the human considerations of drug resistant Salmonellas, it was somewhat surprising that this drug was approved for use in dairy heifers. Though it is effective for pneumonia, we try to reserve its use for situations where Salmonella (especially Salmonella dublin) is a component of the pneumonia.
Draxxin – Draxxin is a new generation of the macrolide family of drugs. It maintains effective blood levels for 6-8 days following injection. It is very effective and has become the first choice of treatment for many farms, and the most recommended by us at Valley Vet Clinic. It is labeled for use against Mycoplasma bovis.
Zactran – Zactran, like Draxxin, is a new generation macrolide. It maintains effective blood levels for approximately 10 days following injection. It has not been as widely used as Draxxin. It is labeled for use against Mycoplasma bovis. Given its limited use to date, we have not gained confidence in its effectiveness.
Zuprevo – this is the newest introduction to the market. It is also a new generation macrolide. It maintains effective blood levels for 24 days following injection! Again, given its limited use to date, we have not gained confidence in its effectiveness. But the duration is certainly an appealing attribute.
This is just a brief overview of the choices available. Please ask any of our veterinarians for specific dosages or advice which might be the preferred choice in your situation.