Angus Genetics Inc. Heart Health Initiative Works to Combat Bovine Congestive Heart Failure

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Kelli Retallick-Riley about bovine congestive heart failure.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is talking with Kelli Retallick-Riley, the President of Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI), a subsidiary of the American Angus Association. Retallick-Riley is discussing bovine congestive heart failure research to combat disease.

“As we approach this issue, we know congestive heart failure has been a growing concern,” Retallick-Riley said. “We had our initial meetings around congestive heart failure in the office and with other groups in 2018 and 2019. Since then, it has continued to be part of the conversation.”

Retallick-Riley said there is a focus on research coming out of Colorado State and more entities that have allowed AGI to begin a heart-health initiative to gather data sets on heart scores to see if there is a genetic link to bovine congestive heart failure and to find a solution to help producers select against it.

When it comes to that genetic link, Retallick-Riley says there is a .2 to .3 heritability around those traits. For reference, an EPD such as weaning weight has a similar range of heritability.

“There is definitely some hope of selecting cattle that are not as genetically predisposed to remodeling their hearts,” Retallick-Riley said.

In a data set from Kansas State’s beef cattle institute, Retallick-Riley said it was found that less than one percent of cattle have succumbed to heart disease or bovine congestive heart failure. However, Retallick-Riley added there is a debate that some of this could be due to a misdiagnosis.

“Sometimes this disease is tricky, and you go out to diagnose it, and it may get diagnosed as an AIP (Acute Interstitial Pneumonia), or it may get diagnosed as a pneumonia case or a BRD (Bovine Respiratory Disease) case,” Retallick-Riley said. “It is a sneaky one, so we really have to make sure that we continue to approach it in a well-advised manner so we can get those cattle diagnosed correctly.”

By identifying and separating sire lines through research, Retallick-Riley said the goal is to identify ways to separate from those genetic lines and combat genetic disease.

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