Prevention is key when it comes to bovine pneumonia. You can prevent pneumonia in your cows by following vet-recommended diets, investing in vaccination programs, and providing housing with adequate ventilation. Untreated pneumonia can spread through the herd, and in severe cases, cause irreparable lung damage. You should reach out to a veterinarian right away if your cow exhibits any of the symptoms—such as having a fever, drooped ears, coughing, reducing feed intake, etc. If pneumonia is caught early enough, bacterial strains can be treated with medication like ampicillin. Read on to learn more about this medication, how it works, and its benefits.
What Is Ampicillin?
Ampicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that falls under the class of penicillin medications. This drug prevents bacteria from building proper cell walls as they grow. Ampicillin can be used to treat beef cattle, dairy cattle, as well as calves. Besides treating bacterial pneumonia, ampicillin may be used to treat skin infections, meningitis, and/or shipping fever.
How Is it Administered?
You should consult your state laws, as some ampicillin medications may only be able to be ordered and administered by a licensed veterinarian. While smaller animals may take ampicillin in tablets, cows may take ampicillin intravenously or intramuscularly. Your vet may also be able to administer the drug through injectable suspension, where the medication is fed to the cow in a solution, such as a milk replacer or glucose-glycine-electrolyte solution.
Before the vet administers ampicillin, he or she will likely cover your cow's health history to make sure the medication doesn't cause an allergic reaction. The dosage will likely depend on your cow's age and weight. You should follow the recommended course of treatment from your vet as well; if antibiotics are stopped early when symptoms dissipate, the remaining bacteria can continue to multiply and become resistant to antibiotics.
How Does it Help Bacterial Pneumonia?
Ampicillin can be stronger than other antibiotics since it can resist stomach acid. It can be used to treat both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria; so it has a better chance of killing multiple bacterial strains. Some bacteria can develop resistance to certain antibiotics, so your vet may rotate ampicillin with other medications should your cows have repeat infections. One study found that sulbactam-ampicillin was more effective than penicillin in treating feedlot calves with penicillin-resistant strains of pneumonic pasteurellosis.
Reach out to a veterinarian in your area today for more information about ampicillin and other medications that can help treat bovine pneumonia.
For more info, contact a local clinic like US Vet.