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Producer survey of herd-level risk factors for nursing beef calf respiratory disease

Amelia R. WoolumsDepartment of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Roy D. BerghausDepartment of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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David R. SmithSchool of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588.

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Brad J. WhiteDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Terry J. EngelkenDepartment of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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Max B. IrsikDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Darin K. MatlickWest Virginia University Extension Service, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506.

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A. Lee JonesDepartment of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Roger W. EllisDepartment of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Isaiah J. SmithDepartment of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Gary L. MasonDepartment of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 89523.

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Emily R. WaggonerDepartment of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Abstract

Objective—To identify herd-level risk factors for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in nursing beef calves.

Design—Population-based cross-sectional survey.

Sample—2,600 US cow-calf producers in 3 Eastern and 3 Plains states.

Procedures—The associations of herd characteristics with BRD detection in calves and cumulative BRD treatment incidence were determined.

Results—459 (177%) surveys were returned and met the inclusion criteria; 48% and 52% of these surveys were completed by producers in Plains and Eastern states, respectively. Mean (95% confidence interval) number of animals in herds in Plains and Eastern states were 102 (77 to 126) and 48 (40 to 56), respectively. Bovine respiratory disease had been detected in ≥ 1 calf in 21% of operations; ≥ 1 calf was treated for BRD and ≥ 1 calf died because of BRD in 89.2% and 46.4% of operations in which calf BRD was detected, respectively. Detection of BRD in calves was significantly associated with large herd size, detection of BRD in cows, and diarrhea in calves. Calving season length was associated with BRD in calves in Plains states but not Eastern states. Cumulative incidence of BRD treatment was negatively associated with large herd size and examination of cows to detect pregnancy and positively associated with calving during the winter, introduction of calves from an outside source, offering supplemental feed to calves, and use of an estrous cycle synchronization program for cows.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicated factors associated with calf BRD risk; modification of these factors could potentially decrease the incidence of BRD in nursing calves.

Abstract

Objective—To identify herd-level risk factors for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in nursing beef calves.

Design—Population-based cross-sectional survey.

Sample—2,600 US cow-calf producers in 3 Eastern and 3 Plains states.

Procedures—The associations of herd characteristics with BRD detection in calves and cumulative BRD treatment incidence were determined.

Results—459 (177%) surveys were returned and met the inclusion criteria; 48% and 52% of these surveys were completed by producers in Plains and Eastern states, respectively. Mean (95% confidence interval) number of animals in herds in Plains and Eastern states were 102 (77 to 126) and 48 (40 to 56), respectively. Bovine respiratory disease had been detected in ≥ 1 calf in 21% of operations; ≥ 1 calf was treated for BRD and ≥ 1 calf died because of BRD in 89.2% and 46.4% of operations in which calf BRD was detected, respectively. Detection of BRD in calves was significantly associated with large herd size, detection of BRD in cows, and diarrhea in calves. Calving season length was associated with BRD in calves in Plains states but not Eastern states. Cumulative incidence of BRD treatment was negatively associated with large herd size and examination of cows to detect pregnancy and positively associated with calving during the winter, introduction of calves from an outside source, offering supplemental feed to calves, and use of an estrous cycle synchronization program for cows.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicated factors associated with calf BRD risk; modification of these factors could potentially decrease the incidence of BRD in nursing calves.

Contributor Notes

Dr. David R. Smith's present address is Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762.

Dr. Isaiah Smith's present address is Mountainview Veterinary Services, 90 Southern Dr, Keyser, WV 26726.

Dr. Ellis’ present address is South Dakota State University Regional Extension Center, 13 2nd Ave SE, Aberdeen, SD 57401.

Dr. Emily Waggoner's present address is 1602 Levis Smith Rd, Pendleton, SC 29670.

Supported by USDA Formula Funds and Pfizer Animal Health.

Presented in part at the Academy of Veterinary Consultants Summer Meeting, Kansas City, Mo, August 2012, and at the 45th Annual American Association of Bovine Practitioners Conference, Montreal, September 2012.

The authors thank Doug Kleweno and Kathy Broussard for assistance with producer sampling and survey distribution.

Address correspondence to Dr. Woolums (awoolums@uga.edu).