The Calf's Respiratory System

A calf’s respiratory system is very vulnerable, leaving the animal susceptible to problems and issues.

  • A calf’s lungs develop relatively late in life, becoming fully mature mature only when the animal is 2 years old. As a result, calf lungs have very little reserve capacity.
  • The airwaves are relatively narrow, so they get easily blocked.
  • Calf lungs are heavily segmented, and each segment has only one entry point for the airways. If this entry point becomes blocked the entire segment will not function properly.
Beef calf

Managing Respiratory Health

Maintaining good respiratory health is of the utmost importance to ensure that a calf reaches its potential as a milking cow later in life.

Colostrum Management

Ensure calves get sufficient amounts of colostrum. This improves their immunity during the first few months of life

Climate and Housing

Avoid overcrowding and variations in temperature/humidity as much as possible. Ensure there is sufficient ventilation in the calf shed.


Consult your vet to ensure calves are properly vaccinated against the most important respiratory pathogens.

Avoid stressful situations

Stress can result in lower immunity in your calves. Consider a stepwise weaning programme and don’t make sudden changes in rations. Ensure each animal has sufficient space for feeding.

Act at the first signs with Pulmosure

  • Farm-O-San Pulmosure BucketOnce the first warning signs occur, it is important to act quickly and support the respiratory tract’s primary defense mechanism. The upper parts of respiratory tract contain so-called goblet cells. These produce a mucous layer that covers the inner lining of the tract and traps unwanted particles inhaled by the calf.
  • The inner lining of the respiratory tract also contains tiny hairs called cilia. These move the mucous layer outwards, clearing the lungs of these inhaled particles. This system is called the MUCOCILIARY CLEARANCE SYSTEM.
  • In the early stage of a respiratory problem the mucociliary clearance system is suppressed, making the calf’s respiratory tract vulnerable. Farm-O-San Pulmosure contains eucalyptus oil which helps boost mucociliary clearance by increasing mucous production.
  • Changing weather conditions, high humidity, large temperature differences between day and night and a poor housing climate may have a negative effect on the condition of the airwaves of calves, inadequate ventiliation, crowded housing, mixing calves from different sources and transportation may result in a decrease in the calves’ respiratory condition.
  • Farm-O-San Pulmosure is a complementary feed for calves containing an essential oil that supports breathing and cleaning of the airways. Farm-O-TehSan Pulmosure also contains a natural form of vitamin E and organically bound selenium.

If you have any queries, please contact the Farm-O-San team or

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