Shipping Fever

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shipping fever

[′ship·iŋ ‚fē·vər]
(veterinary medicine)
An acute, occasionally subacute, septicemic disease in cattle and sheep, probably caused by a combination of virus and Pasteurella multocida or P. hemolytica.

Shipping Fever


a disease that develops in animals transported long distances. Cattle, sheep, and goats are most frequently affected; horses, swine, and carnivores are less susceptible. Predisposing factors are transportation directly from pasture, excessive heat and humidity, insufficient drinking water, and poor ventilation. Affected animals are restless, fearful, and have an unsteady gait. They lose weight and, in severe cases, appetite as well. Death may result from cardiac insufficiency.

Shipping fever is treated with calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, diphenhydramine, chloral hydrate, tincture of valerian, and cardiac agents. The disease can be prevented in herbivorous animals by keeping them in their stable for several days before transport and by reducing to a minimum the amount of green fodder in their ration. Green fodder contains a great deal of potassium, which impairs the metabolism of magnesium and calcium; this appears to be a factor in the development of shipping fever. The vehicles transporting the animals should be well ventilated during transit; the animals should not be allowed to become overheated or crowded, and they should be watered regularly.


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HOWEVER, both Leadon and Paltridge agree that while the risk of shipping fever can be minimised, it cannot be eliminated.
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Paul Webber, who trains Ulundi, said yesterday: "He had a bad bout of shipping fever, and although his