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5 Important Facts: Bovine Respiratory Disease

Manage BRD in cattle with this information

Manage BRD in cattle with this information

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is one of the most common and costly diseases affecting the United States cattle industry. What is BRD? In the broadest sense, it is a disease of the lower or upper respiratory tracts in cattle. BRD doesn’t discriminate -- the disease can impact cattle of any age, whether calves or mature cattle. Symptoms should be closely monitored and addressed early.

With such risks posed to cattle health, and operational profitability, make sure you’re up to speed on BRD with these facts.

  1. BRD in cattle costs the U.S. feedlot industry an estimated annual loss of $1 billion. Factors contributing to this financial burden -- and herd health concern -- include production loss, increased labor expenses, medication costs and death because of BRD.
  2. BRD symptoms in cattle include coughing, rapid and shallow breathing, appetite suppression, depression and lethargy, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing and fever.
  3. A complex disease, what causes BRD includes:
    • Poor vaccination program, leading to heightened risk
    • Stressful events, such as weaning, transport, auction, castration, dehorning, and changes in feed
    • Host factors, including the animal’s immunity, genetics and age
    • Environmental factors, like weather conditions, overcrowding and commingling
    • Parasite infections, both internal or external
    • Viruses, including bovine parainfluenza virus (PI3), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus and bovine coronavirus (BCV)
    • Pathogens, including Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, Histophilus somni and Mycoplasma bovis
  4. BRD in cattle can be prevented through a multifaceted approach. Help avoid and manage the risk for BRD by:
    • Ensuring calves receive adequate colostrum intake following birth
    • Having a strong vaccination program in place to shield the herd against respiratory challenges, to both viral and bacterial pathogens
    • Having an effective cattle deworming program in place
    • Sourcing preconditioned calves from reliable cow/calf operators
    • Preventing overcrowding and reducing pen movements
    • Implementing low-stress handling practices
    • Offering cattle adequate levels of essential vitamins and minerals
  5. An effective first treatment for BRD will help the animal return to peak performance and gain. Ranchers will need to talk with their veterinarian about the best antibiotic for BRD in cattle. With a prescription, you can order a number of trusted options for BRD treatment in cattle, available from veterinarian-founded, such as:

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