Bovine Respiratory Disease


BRD. Google results tell me this is Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Germany’s official name. But that’s about all I know in German history. BRD in my life actually stands for Bovine Respiratory Disease. I am feeling a little AgNerd-ish today, so I thought I would share the wealth of knowledge. Following is a report I wrote for a college course once upon a time. Most kids pick suggested topics. I always chose cattle topics I already wanted to learn more about. Read the entire report with references on this page.

Prevention and Treatment for Bovine Respiratory Disease in High Risk, Newly Received Stocker Calves

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in stocker and feedlot operations. Cattle in these operations are highly susceptible to contracting the disease and are classified as high or low risk based on a number of factors; “commingling with other animals, transportation stress, immune status, nutritional condition, environment conditions, and the skill level of management to diagnose cattle displaying symptoms of BRD” (Richeson, 2008). Cattle entering stocker and/or feedlot operations are normally classified as high risk if originating from livestock auctions for reasons including “unknown origin, commingling with numerous other animals, and being recently weaned from small cow-calf operations that seldom use vaccination or other BRD prevention strategies” (Richeson, 2009). Because the number of cattle classified as high risk is relatively high in the stocker and feedlot industry, it is important to find the most effective methods of prevention and treatment for BRD. Although there have been many research trials conducted showing the impact of BRD on cattle, this focus of this paper will be on the methods of prevention and treatment for BRD including 14-day delayed modified live virus vaccination and the efficacy of treatment with different medications.

BRD does have a major impact on health, efficiency, and performance of stocker and feeder calves. According to research from Snowder et al. (2006), BRD has a large impact on both stocker and feeder calves, with 13% and 17%, respectively, of calves being affected by the disease. Snowder’s research shows results of an average economic loss of $15.57 per sick animal. This figure only includes treatment costs and losses from decreased average daily gain (ADG). Similar research conducted by Brooks et al. (2009) shows that BRD has a major effect of costs associated with production. Cattle in this research trial had a decreased ADG of two and a half pounds per day, increased treatment costs of thirty-five dollars per head, and decreased net returns of one hundred fourteen dollars per head, compared to cattle not affected by BRD. These figures show a decrease in economic gains and performance of cattle diagnosed with BRD.

In conclusion, every situation is different depending on environment and diseases present in the animal herd, so treatment efficacy may differ between operations. Research has shown that delaying MLV vaccination treatment by 14-days combined with mass treatment or treatment by temperature with tilmicosin phosphate or tulathromycin will increase performance and returns in newly received stocker calves at high risk for bovine respiratory disease. With this information, producers will be able to make more informed decisions when creating vaccination and treatment protocols.

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