Managing risk of bovine respiratory disease

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Source: National Farm Animal Care Council, Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle Section 3.3.1

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is a leading cause of sickness and mortality in the beef feedlot industry (3). Feedlot operators take a variety of management steps, including daily monitoring, to minimize the risk of BRD.

Some risk factors for bovine respiratory diseases are:

  • non-vaccinated cattle
  • recent weaning
  • transportation and handling
  • sudden or extreme changes in weather
  • commingling of cattle from various sources.

Early detection and prompt treatment decrease chronicity and mortality due to BRD and other diseases (3).

REQUIREMENTS

Monitor the behaviour of newly-arrived feedlot cattle to facilitate the early detection of illness.

Have a disease prevention strategy for new arrivals into a feedlot.

RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

  1. categorize newly-arrived cattle according to risk for BRD and other illness and apply appropriate receiving protocols (3)
  2. whenever possible, buy calves of known source, vaccination history, and health status (3).

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