Agridirect.ie discusses Bovine Respiratory Disease, one of the leading causes of revenue loss on Irish feedlots.
Major revenue loss
Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), often referred to as Bovine Pneumonia, is among the most devastating conditions that farmers may have to deal with over the winter months. With the exception of very young calves, Bovine Respitatory Disease can strike cattle of all ages.
However, like many other conditions linked to the spread of infectious disease, it is most often identified among housed cattle and is prevalent in herds of cattle imported from diverse locations. It is difficult to overestimate the economic cost of BRD on Irish farms. Respiratory diseases in cattle are highly infectious, have exceptionally high mortality rates (up to 25%) and are among the foremost reasons for carcass rejection at slaughter.
What causes BRD?
Generally, BRD is caused by uncontrolled viruses and bacteria in the herd. Among the most lethal of these are Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida, though other agents such as RSV, PI3, BoHV-1 (IBR), BVD and Bovine coronavirus are also considered significant causes of disease.
It is generally recognized that cattle housed in poor conditions are more likely to develop BRD, and this is why farmers are always encouraged to ensure hygienic and well ventilated housing conditions.
Signs and symptoms
Cattle suffering from Bovine Respiratory Disease exhibit difficulty breathing, and breathe much faster than a healthy animal. An infected cow will have little appetite, usually has a cough and invariably shows a mucus drip from the nostrils. While these are the most common symptoms, raw mucous membranes, conjunctivitis and low milk yield in lactating cows are also prominent features. If you notice any of these signs in your herd, you should contact your vet immediately.
Diagnosis of BRD usually involves some for of veterinary examination. In many instances, BRD is only diagnosed via post-mortem examination. However, the disease may also be identified by clinical examination and laboratory testing. Farmers should be as proactive as possible in trying to diagnose the disease early, and your veterinarian will advise as to the best diagnostic methods.Continue reading “Killer in the feedlot: Bovine Respiratory Disease and how to prevent it”