Just like investors watch the stock market, producers should watch their cattle — each is an investment in time, labor and inputs that needs to perform at its best. One of the quickest and most costly ways an animal’s performance can be downgraded is by developing bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
“Watching for the situations that we know can result in BRD can give producers a head start in managing the disease and protecting against lost gain and profits,” says Lee Bob Harper, DVM, Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Operations. “If you’re not on the lookout, BRD’s effects can create reduced performance over an animal’s entire lifetime.”
The situations that can lead to BRD vary, but may include stressors like:
• Long hauls.
• Lack of adequate nutrition.
• Viral and bacterial infections.
• Weather changes.
Weather changes like this year’s cold winter weather and wet spring could point to BRD development in many areas, Dr. Harper notes.
“Any time there are temperature swings, we expect BRD,” he says. “Spring isn’t as much of a concern for us as fall, but we’re really going to see the same issues in either season with the temperature swings and wet cattle.”
In addition to a variety of stressors, BRD can result from several different bacteria — including Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida and Histophilus somni.
Ideal antibiotics should help control the disease without multiple repulls and retreats that can be a drain on time and resources, he says. A treatment that provides seven days of therapy in one dose can help keep cattle on track without added labor investments. For example, Excede (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension provides seven days of therapy. Another product, Draxxin (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution, provides a full course of therapy in just one dose.
“We’ve seen benefits to treating with extended therapy products and sending cattle back to their home pen, rather than a hospital pen,” Dr. Harper says. “This way, cattle can avoid being exposed to whatever other microbes are in the sick pen — potentially causing additional illness — plus the cattle go back to a location that they’re already adjusted to, which reduces further stress.”
Studies have shown that using an extended therapy antibiotic that maintains therapeutic levels for at least seven days results in healthier calves, as compared with therapies that only maintain therapeutic levels for three days.
“Each animal is an investment in your overall operation and its profitability,” Dr. Harper says. “Keeping an eye on both cattle and the conditions they’re faced with can help give you a head start on battling BRD — making sure you’re in control of your investments.”
For additional information on Pfizer Animal Health’s portfolio of animal products, visit http://www.PfizerAH.com.