Fog fever

Fog fever: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: Fog feverAlternative Name: Acute bovine pulmonary edema and emphysema (ABPEE), atypical interstitial pneumonia (AIP), and acute bovine pulmonary emphysema. Fog fever is an acute respiratory disease of range cattle that occurs following movement from poor pasture to lush pasture/forage. Yearlings (an animal in its second year) are less susceptible than mature cows, and calves are almost never affected. It appears that sheep (and horses) are not susceptible or are much less susceptible to Fog fever. The disease occurs within 10 days of movement to improved forage. Pastures of any sort (grass or legume) as well as annual crops (corn, sudan grass, etc.) can support fog fever. Fog fever also can be seen when animals preferentially graze lush growth in lowland meadows or water discharge areas, even if the remainder of the pasture is not exceptionally green. It is the “lushness” and abrupt change that is important, not the forage species. Unfortunately, no work has been done to better define “lushness” or to determine risk of fog fever under field conditions. Fog fever occurs when L-tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino acid, is converted to 3-methyl indole (3-MI) in the rumen (the first compartment of the stomach of a ruminant; here food is collected and returned to the mouth as cud for chewing). 3-MI is absorbed and leads to toxic changes in the lungs. Cattle on a poor level of nutrition apparently have a rumen flora that preferentially converts L-tryptophan to 3-MI. There are two main prevention strategies — dietary management and medical management. Dietary management involves adaptation and/or limiting access to lush pasture, while medical management focuses on use of ionophores to limit disease. Symptoms: Clinical signs of fog fever are observed as an acute onset ofdifficult breathing. Open mouth breathing with salivation,extension of the head and neck, and obvious distressoccur. Animals have difficulty exhaling, and a “grunt” onexpiration may be noted. These animals are reluctant tomove, and forced movement may result in collapse anddeath.Affected cattlemay have a fever (rectal temp >102.5F) due to theincreased work of breathing. Diagnosis: Diagnosis is based on history, signs, and lesions. Because the syndrome is not specific with regard to cause, evidence must be obtained from management factors such as change in pasture. Treatment: There is no treatment shown to be particularly effective. Generally, treatment is administration of diuretics, antiinflammatories, and antibiotics. Producers should work with their veterinarians ahead of time to have treatment protocols in place and treatment materials on hand. Then, if cases are observed, the animals can be promptly treated. Often, cattle may be affected so severely that handling or sorting them may cause them to collapse. In such cases, and since the treatments are probably only of marginal value, it is best to avoid prolonged forced movement. Instead, offer shade and comfort where the cattle are. Within 2-3 days, individual animals either recover or die. Medical management:
  • Administer monensin at a dose of 200 mg/head per day, starting 1 day before movement to lush pasture, and continuing for at least 10 days.
  • Administer lasalocid at 200 mg per head per day, starting 6 days before movement and continuing for at least 10 days after movement.
Medications must be administered under the guidance of veterinarian. Dietary Management: Adapt cattle to a higher plane of nutrition by feeding a full diet of high quality hay for 2-3 weeks prior to moving to lush pasture.
  • Limit grazing in the lush pasture to a few hours per day, increasing gradually over a period of 10 days.
  • Feed 2-3 lb of low quality hay per head per day for the first 10 days following the move to lush pasture. The quality of the hay is not important, but the cattle must consume it, and this is likely to be a problem.
  • Graze (or clip) pasture periodically throughout the season so it does not become too lush.
  • Graze the pasture initially with low risk animals (yearlings or sheep) to remove some lush growth.
  • Limit access to lush forage by section grazing, allowing access to only a small portion of the pasture for the first 10 days.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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