Beef Buzz News
Bovine Respiratory Disease Requires Broad Response for Effective Treatment
Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:30:17 CST
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Dr. Eric Moore about BRD.
Bovine Respiratory Disease is the most common and costly cattle disease. It takes a substantial toll each year on animal health and productivity. Learning the best management practices as winter approaches is crucial for maintaining profitability says Dr. Eric Moore, technical services manager with Merck Animal Health. A number of factors contribute to BRD, Moore says, and with parts of the country entering a third year of drought, the stress on calves is becoming extreme.
"We're in the second year of drought in most places and maybe even a third year. What that means to the producer is, essentially the stocker producer, number one, there is no wheat pasture. So, that's a big part of it. Number two is the calves that we do bring in were not only stressed nutritionally with the cow on the pasture, but they were stressed as fetuses in those cows also. So, from conception to when you get them, they've been nutritionally challenged. With that, what we see, is a higher susceptibility to BRD this time of year."
Moore says the dry conditions also result in more dust exposure for calves, making them more susceptible to BRD. The calves' system has to work harder to clear the dust and irritants from the lungs, adding more stress. He says a good vaccination program at this time is crucial. Just as humans don't wait until they have the flu to get vaccinated, Moore says a proper BRD vaccination program is most useful before an outbreak can take hold.
"That's one of the things we're really pushing for: how can we manage those cattle to get their immune systems prepped prior to that dust, prior to that exposure, prior to that stress. The more we can put that in place, the better the cattle will respond when they do get sick.
"BRD is going to be there. BRD is extremely costly to the industry-billions of dollars. And we know we have to address it, so an increase in that immune response is critical."
Moore says that a deworming program is also recommended to allow the calf's immune system to devote the maximum resources to fighting BRD if an infection occurs.
In addition, he says, proper nutrition, including minerals, is necessary to bring the calves' immune system up to optimal levels.
"We know that calves in general are going to get sick. We just want to give them the best chance to respond."
Moore says Merck offers a complete portfolio of vaccines, dewormers, antibiotics to help reduce losses from BRD.
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