Case study: 800 cows in Ukraine, coughing and tickely nose symptoms

Case study brought to us by Case Allan Bergholdt, Dairy-production:

"For some time I have been observing a strange behaviour of our cows. It seems that they have something annoying them in their respiratory system but its only when they are eating.

The cows are lying on straw bedding and bedding is done once a day with a Teagle straw dispenser which is of course creating some dust. I dont think this is the problem since the barns are completely open and the imitation for the cows occur during the whole day.

The feed that we are giving the cows is 41-42% dry matter so I also dont believe this is the reason for the irritation. Below I have attached a short video shoving one of the cows. Almost every minute I can make a video like this in the barn, and the problem occur in all production groups and by all cows. We have also a group of high pregnant heifers in the same barn, and by them I have not seen any problems.

Do you by any chance have experience with this kind of behaviour and any suggestions to what might be causing it? "

Who can help? What's going on here? Please share your thoughts!

Comments (14)

Erik Smale

Electric/static irritation on the feeding tube?

Test by switching a group of cows with the pregnant heifers if it is a location or lactation related problem.

Allan Bergholdt

Erik Smale wrote:
Electric/static irritation on the feeding tube?

Test by switching a group of cows with the pregnant heifers if it is a location or lactation related problem.

Hi Erik

Thanks for your comment. I doubt the problem can be electric irritation on the feeding tube since its the same tube that is connecting high pregnant heifers and production cows.
I have been working with dairy cows for 25 years, but have never experienced this behaviour on a regular basis before. I started noticing it around 6 month ago, and it just gets worse and worse. We have changed the ration more times and also changed both silage and haylage. The generel health of the herd is quite good and we never treat cows for respiratory problems. Besides this we have during the past 12 month only had 1,5% dead cows.

Barry Sumption

Feeding 42% DM is very dry, could be irrigating throat and nose i am thinking pregnant heifers are not on same ration?

Dr.Rami Hamad

It could be a sign of toxicity, you say you changed the food and you say it's happening in all groups, well the water is common to all the groups.
If I was you I will analyze the water for everything.
Also check the mineral components in your feed for any allergin.
As a quick test separate some cows and give them water from outside the farm, allow the first few days to clear out if it is from the water.
Good luck

malik Muhammad ali

Hi. To better diagnose this problem more questions are:
1. Did they saw any larva or dead fly in nasal secretion? Wound on nose? And lesion in nasal passage during any post mortem?
2. Calf also showing same behaviour?
3. What's their pest anf fly control regime? ( any head/nasal bot flt in this region)
4. Did they ever git CBC of these animals?
5. This is a problem since how long? I saw alot of manure on floor with straw if they sit on flora can they smell amonia? Amonia is higher at floor levels.
6. Did they changed and feed item recently?
7. We need to nasal examination ti confirm diagnosis.

Dr.Rami Hamad

I didn't mention that Dr.Malik as I assumed it was easy to see by them.

Ravindra Shenoy

I am Ravindra Shenoy from Integrated Research Centre, Mysore, India. I have a product manufactured from Turmeric which has been found effective in the case of coughing and allergy. This product is totally non-toxic and is being used for human applications also. Would you be interested in trying it?

Dr. Theron Leo

Tickeling nose could be either hypervascularization due to vasodilation, an atypical form of dyctiocaulus?
What is the DON level of the TMR?
Have you tried to vacuum the air to test for small particles content? WIth an Andersen impacter?

Joep Driessen

Thanks for your reactions everyone! Hopefully this will help to solve the problem.

E. Martins

allergy will most probably cause bilateral and simetrical signals on both nasal passages. From the images they sim to be mostly assimetrical?

Dont Forget to let us no the outcome.

Dr.Venkata Narendra

Kindly test the silage and haylage for Aflatoxicosis analysis...
It may give some idea....All The Best

Annelise Hever

Your cows are not coughing, they are neezing, means cleaning their upper respiratory organs from eather dust, small particles or some irritating material. Feedstuff is very dry with 41% DM. Try to add some water for a day or two ot the TMR, you will see if it gets better. In the background we can see that your bedding is rather wet and dirty, so maybe also amonia in the air (bad ventilation, hot temperatures) could play a role so that the noses of the cows are aready irrtitated in the first place and with a combination of dusty and dry material in the feed a reaction occurs. Make sure, that the sticky air is going out of the barn, especially now in summer time it a common problem. By the way, this are not typical signs of Mykotoxins. They are causing high somatic cell count, mastitis, digestif problems, reduced fertility. Start first to check the most common reasons, infections, feed hygiene and ventilation. If nothing will be found you still can think about Mykotoxins. If you decide to check for them, check for DON and ZEA, Aflatoxins are most of the time not a problem in Europe.

Niels Groot Nibbelink

Hello Joep,
What about bedding material I see on the first video? Is it a lose, chopped material which can cause irritation?

Joep Driessen

Hi Annelise, thanks for your contribution! Wise words from our very active cowsignals trainer in Switserland

Hi all, thanks for your ideas.

Hi Allan,

How many percent of cows is showing irritation behaviour?

Do You chop and spread straw for bedding, right after fresh feeding the cows, so all are eating? Is there one feeding place (70 cm oer cow or is there a group staying behind in the dust cloud on the straw pack?
Is the straw stored outside and harvested wet? So lots of fungus in it? Hapens often....

How often do you scrape the feeding lane were cows are standing and eating? Can you make a 30 cm barier to clean it properly and keep the straw cleaner ( less amoniak produced).

Can you add / use fans in the straw (resting )area?

Let us know what you try and what the effect is!!

Hope to see you all soon in my training center in Holland

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