Objective—To investigate eating and drinking behaviors and their association with bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) and to evaluate methods of diagnosing BRDC.
Animals—170 newly arrived calves at a feedlot.
Procedure—Eating and drinking behaviors of calves were recorded at a feedlot. Calves with clinical signs of BRDC were removed from their pen and classified retrospectively as sick or not sick on the basis of results of physical and hematologic examinations. Pulmonary lesions of all calves were assessed at slaughter.
Results—Calves that were sick had significantly greater frequency and duration of drinking 4 to 5 days after arrival than calves that were not sick. Sick calves had significantly lower frequency and duration of eating and drinking 11 to 27 days after arrival but had significantly greater frequency of eating 28 to 57 days after arrival than calves that were not sick. Calves at slaughter that had a higher percentage of lung tissue with pneumonic lesions had significantly lower frequency and duration of eating 11 to 27 days after arrival but had significantly higher frequency and duration of eating 28 to 57 days after arrival. Agreement for calves being sick and having severe pulmonary lesions at slaughter was adequate. Agreement for calves being removed and having pulmonary lesions at slaughter was low.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Eating and drinking behaviors were associated with signs of BRDC, but there was not an obvious predictive association between signs of BRDC in calves and eating and drinking behaviors. Fair to poor agreement was observed between antemortem and postmortem disease classification. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1163–1168)