• View in gallery

    Model-adjusted mean ± SEM daily distance traveled (A), PNF (B), and PNW (C) for 100 crossbred beef steers that were considered at high risk of BRD and acquired from a livestock auction and transported approximately 1,000 km overnight to a feedlot facility in Missouri (experiment 1). Prior to transport, calves were randomly assigned to 1 of 10 pens at the receiving feedlot. Each pen of calves was randomly assigned to and administered 1 of 2 treatments: meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO; n = 5 pens [50 calves]) or a lactose placebo (1 capsule/calf, PO; 5 pens[50 calves]). At feedlot arrival, calves were instrumented with an RTLS tag that continuously monitored their location within their assigned pens relative to the pen perimeter as well as the feed bunk and waterer. Individual calf behavior data were monitored for 21 days and aggregated by pen on a daily basis. Results of generalized linear mixed models indicated that neither the interaction between day and treatment nor the main effect for treatment was significantly associated with any of the outcomes; therefore, the data for the 2 groups were combined. However, the main effect for day was significantly (P < 0.001) associated with all 3 outcomes. Behavior data for all calves were excluded from the analyses on days 3, 4, and 18 because the calves left the perimeter of their pens, the RTLS malfunctioned, or data were corrupted. *Value differs significantly (P < 0.01) from that for day 1.

  • View in gallery

    Model-adjusted mean ± SEM daily distance traveled (A), PNF (B), and PNW (C) for the steers of Figure 1 during experiment 2 when they were administered the treatment opposite that administered in experiment 1 prior to a 21-day observation period in which the calves did not undergo long-distance transport. Results of generalized linear mixed models indicated that the interaction between day and treatment was significantly associated with distance traveled (P < 0.01) but not PNF (P = 0.44) or PNW (P = 0.30). However, the distance traveled did not differ significantly (P ≥ 0.18 for all comparisons) between the 2 treatment groups on any day. The main effect of treatment was not significantly associated with PNF (P = 0.62) or PNW (P = 0.31); therefore, data for the meloxicam (black bars) and control (white bars) treatments are provided separately for distance traveled (A) but are combined for PNF (B) and PNW (C). The main effect for day was significantly (P < 0.001) associated with both PNF (B) and PNW (C). Behavior data for all calves were excluded from the analyses on days 12, 19, 20, and 21 because the RTLS malfunctioned or the data were corrupted. *Value differs significantly (P < 0.01) from the corresponding value on day 1.

  • 1. Sanderson MW, Dargatz DA, Wagner BA. Risk factors for initial respiratory disease in United States' feedlots based on producer-collected daily morbidity counts. Can Vet J 2008; 49:373378.

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  • 2. Van Engen NK, Platt R, Roth JA, et al. Impact of oral meloxicam and long-distance transport on cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in feedlot steers receiving modified live BVDV booster vaccination on arrival. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 2016; 175:4250.

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  • 3. Cooke RF, Guarnieri Filho TA, Cappellozza BI, et al. Rest stops during road transport: impacts on performance and acute-phase protein responses of feeder cattle. J Anim Sci 2013; 91:54485454.

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  • 4. Fike K, Spire MF. Transportation of cattle. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2006; 22:305320.

  • 5. Coetzee JF, KuKanich B, Mosher R, et al. Pharmacokinetics of intravenous and oral meloxicam in ruminant calves. Vet Ther 2009; 10:E1E8.

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  • 6. Van Engen NK, Stock ML, Engelken T, et al. Impact of oral meloxicam on circulating physiological biomarkers of stress and inflammation in beef steers after long-distance transportation. J Anim Sci 2014; 92:498510.

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  • 7. Guarnieri Filho TA, Cooke RF, Cappellozza BI, et al. Effects of meloxicam administration on physiological and performance responses of transported feeder cattle. J Anim Sci 2014; 92:41374144.

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  • 8. Hanzlicek GA, White BJ, Mosier D, et al. Serial evaluation of physiologic, pathological, and behavioral changes related to disease progression of experimentally induced Mannheimia haemolytica pneumonia in postweaned calves. Am J Vet Res 2010; 71:359369.

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  • 9. White BJ, Anderson DE, Renter DG, et al. Clinical, behavioral, and pulmonary changes in calves following inoculation with Mycoplasma bovis. Am J Vet Res 2012; 73:490497.

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  • 10. Theurer ME, Amrine DE, White BJ. Remote noninvasive assessment of pain and health status in cattle. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2013; 29:5974.

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  • 11. Noffsinger T, Lukasiewicz K, Hyder L. Feedlot processing and arrival cattle management. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2015; 31:323340.

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  • 12. Preston RL. Receiving cattle nutrition. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2007; 23:193205.

  • 13. Fluharty FL, Loerch SC, Dehority BA. Ruminal characteristics, microbial populations, and digestive capabilities of newly weaned, stressed calves. J Anim Sci 1994; 72:29692979.

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  • 14. Theurer ME, White BJ, Anderson DE, et al. Effect of transportation during periods of high ambient temperature on physiologic and behavioral indices of beef heifers. Am J Vet Res 2013; 74:481490.

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  • 15. Cole NA, Camp TH, Rowe LD Jr, et al. Effect of transport on feeder calves. Am J Vet Res 1988; 49:178183.

  • 16. Warriss PD, Brown SN, Knowles TG, et al. Effects on cattle of transport by road for up to 15 hours. Vet Rec 1995; 136:319323.

  • 17. Perino LJ, Apley MD. Clinical trial design in feedlots. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 1998; 14:343365.

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  • 19. White BJ, Goehl DR, Amrine DE. Comparison of a remote early disease identification (REDI) system to visual observations to identify cattle with bovine respiratory diseases. Int J Appl Res Vet Med 2015; 13:2330.

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  • 20. Cooke RF, Cappellozza BI, Guarnieri Filho TA, et al. Effects of flunixin meglumine administration on physiological and performance responses of transported feeder cattle. J Anim Sci 2013; 91:55005506.

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Effect of meloxicam administration on movement, feeding, and drinking behaviors of transported and nontransported cattle

Sarah F. Capik DVM, PhD1, Brad J. White DVM, MS2, Robert L. Larson DVM, PhD3, Nicholas Van Engen DVM, PhD4, and Johann F. Coetzee BVSc, PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of meloxicam on movement, feeding, and drinking behaviors of transported and nontransported cattle.

ANIMALS 100 crossbred beef steers.

PROCEDURES During experiment 1 of a 2-experiment study, calves from a livestock auction received meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO; n = 50) or a lactose placebo (1 capsule/calf; 50; control), then calves were transported approximately 1,000 km overnight to a feedlot, where they were instrumented with a real-time location-monitoring ear tag, placed in randomly assigned pens (n = 5 pens/treatment), and monitored for 21 days. During experiment 2, calves in pens were administered the treatment opposite that of experiment 1, returned to their pens without undergoing transportation, and monitored for another 21 days. For each experiment, mean daily distance traveled and percentage time spent near feed (PNF) and water (PNW) were calculated on a pen basis and compared between treatments.

RESULTS During experiment 1, mean daily distance traveled, PNF, and PNW did not differ significantly between meloxicam-treated and control calves; however, all 3 behaviors varied significantly by day. During experiment 2, although mean distance traveled was significantly associated with the interaction between day and treatment, it did not differ significantly between meloxicam-treated and control calves within any specific day. Mean PNF and PNW were significantly associated with day only, although no pattern in that effect was evident.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that a single dose of meloxicam prior to transportation did not significantly affect the behaviors of transported and nontransported calves.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of meloxicam on movement, feeding, and drinking behaviors of transported and nontransported cattle.

ANIMALS 100 crossbred beef steers.

PROCEDURES During experiment 1 of a 2-experiment study, calves from a livestock auction received meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO; n = 50) or a lactose placebo (1 capsule/calf; 50; control), then calves were transported approximately 1,000 km overnight to a feedlot, where they were instrumented with a real-time location-monitoring ear tag, placed in randomly assigned pens (n = 5 pens/treatment), and monitored for 21 days. During experiment 2, calves in pens were administered the treatment opposite that of experiment 1, returned to their pens without undergoing transportation, and monitored for another 21 days. For each experiment, mean daily distance traveled and percentage time spent near feed (PNF) and water (PNW) were calculated on a pen basis and compared between treatments.

RESULTS During experiment 1, mean daily distance traveled, PNF, and PNW did not differ significantly between meloxicam-treated and control calves; however, all 3 behaviors varied significantly by day. During experiment 2, although mean distance traveled was significantly associated with the interaction between day and treatment, it did not differ significantly between meloxicam-treated and control calves within any specific day. Mean PNF and PNW were significantly associated with day only, although no pattern in that effect was evident.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that a single dose of meloxicam prior to transportation did not significantly affect the behaviors of transported and nontransported calves.

Although evidence suggests that long-distance transportation of cattle increases their risk for the development of BRD1 and affects various inflammatory, immunologic, and performance variables,2,3 few therapeutic strategies exist to mitigate the effects of long-distance transportation.4 In cattle, a single dose (1 mg/kg, PO) of meloxicam, an NSAID that preferentially inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 and has high bioavailability and a fairly long mean plasma half-life (28 hours5), can provide anti-inflammatory treatment for several days. Research indicates that meloxicam can affect some transportation-associated changes in immunity2 and certain biomarkers of stress and inflammation6 in cattle. Repeated administration of meloxicam to beef feedlot cattle prior to loading, at unloading, and daily thereafter for the first week after feedlot arrival affected some performance variables.7 Thus, it seems plausible that administration of an NSAID such as meloxicam to cattle may alleviate adverse effects associated with long-distance transport.

The behavior of cattle with BRD differs from that of healthy cattle,8–10 and appropriate feed and water consumption are important for the health and performance of cattle.11,12 Although feed intake of cattle is generally decreased after long-distance transport,13 specific evaluation of the eating and drinking behaviors of cattle following long-distance transport is lacking. The development of RTLSs has provided researchers with a noninvasive tool to study animal behavior after transportation.14 Cattle transported long distances often lose weight during transport (shrink)15 and stand for extended periods16 and therefore should have access to hay and water12 and an opportunity to rest in a clean and dry location11 soon after arrival at their destination. Although those practices are beneficial for the prevention of further stress and address the dehydration and shrink inevitably associated with long-distance transport, they do not address the effect of potential transport-induced inflammation or stress on cattle behavior. Development of an intervention that lessens the adverse effects associated with long-distance transport on cattle and speeds their recovery might reduce the risk of BRD. Therefore, the objective of the study reported here was to evaluate the effects of meloxicam administration on the movement, feeding, and drinking behaviors of transported and nontransported cattle.

Materials and Methods

Animals and study design

All study procedures were approved by the Kansas State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The study consisted of 2 separate experiments during which calves were either transported (experiment 1) or not transported (experiment 2).

Researchers acquired 100 crossbred beef steers considered at high risk for BRD (ie, commingled from multiple origins in the southeastern United States with no known health history; high-risk cattle) from a livestock auction in Tennessee. The calves were transported as a group approximately 1,000 km overnight to a feedlot facility in Missouri (experiment 1). Prior to transport, commercial plastic ear tags were applied to each ear of each calf, and calves were randomly assigned by means of a random number generator to 1 of 10 pens (10 calves/pen). Each pen of calves was randomly assigned by means of a random number generator to 1 of 2 treatments: meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO; n = 5) or a lactose placebo (1 capsule/calf, PO; 5; control), and the assigned treatment was administered prior to transport. At feedlot arrival, calves were processed and received tulathromycina (2.5 mg/kg, SC), a 7-way clostridial vaccineb (2 mL, SC), a 5-way respiratory vaccinec (2 mL, SC or IM), and moxidectind (0.2 mg/kg, SC) in accordance with the respective product labels. An RTLS ear tage was applied to the right ear of each calf. After processing, calves were moved to their assigned pens, where they remained for the remainder of the experimental period (ie, both experiments 1 and 2). Each pen (6.1 × 23.4 m) had inline feed bunks that provided a minimum of 0.61 m of bunk space/calf, automatic waterers, and shade. Calves were fed once daily. For the first 4 days after feedlot arrival, calves were fed a starter ration that consisted mainly of hay and then transitioned to a total-mixed ration that consisted of wet corn gluten, soy hulls, shelled corn, and ground hay for the remainder of the experimental period.

For experiment 2 (nontransport phase), calves received the treatment opposite that administered during experiment 1 (transport phase). The observation period was June 11 to July 3, 2015, for experiment 1 and July 6 to July 28, 2015, for experiment 2; thus, there was a 2-day interval between the 2 experiments. For each experiment, the assigned treatment was administered on day −1, calves were individually weighed on day 0, and then behavior was continuously monitored for 21 consecutive days beginning on day 1. The treatment for experiment 2 was administered on July 6, 2015, which was 25 days after treatment administration for experiment 1. The RTLS tags were removed from the calves, and a final individual weight was obtained on July 29, 2015, the day following completion of the 21-day behavior monitoring period for experiment 2.

Health monitoring

Each calf was observed once daily by a trained individual who was unaware of the treatment administered and assigned a clinical illness score by use of a previously described modified 5-point scale,17 where 1 = clinically normal, 2 = moderately ill or depressed with or without a cough, 3 = severely ill or depressed and with or without labored breathing or a cough, 4 = severely ill with impaired ability to competitively access feed and water, and 5 = recumbent and moribund. Any calf that was assigned a clinical illness score ≥ 2 was removed from its pen to a chute where a physical examination could be safely performed. Calves with a rectal temperature ≥ 40°C and a clinical illness score ≥ 2 were treated in accordance with a predetermined protocol and returned to their assigned pen. Any calf with signs of lameness or disease other than BRD was treated in accordance with common industry practices. Any calf that required treatment with an NSAID (other than meloxicam on day −1 of each experiment) was excluded from the study from that point forward but remained in its assigned pen as long as it could access feed and water.

Behavior monitoring

The RTLS tag applied to the right ear of each calf at feedlot arrival allowed for continuous monitoring of the calf's movement, eating, and drinking behavior throughout the experimental period. Each tag contained an ultra-wideband transceiver that sent data to sensors located around the periphery of the pen and continuously monitored the location of the calf within a 2-D grid with predetermined coordinates (x and y) to indicate the pen perimeter and location of the feed bunks and waterers within each pen. Thus, the calf's location at any moment relative to locations of interest (eg, within 1 m of the feed bunk or waterer) or its previous location allowed investigators to quantify the distance traveled and time spent near those locations. Although the RTLS used has built-in algorithms that automatically evaluate behavior data to identify potentially diseased animals,18,19 only raw behavior data were used in the present study. All behavior data were aggregated first to the hourly level for each individual calf and then to a mean for the pen on an hourly basis. The mean pen-level hourly data were then aggregated into 24-hour periods beginning at 12 am on day 1 of each experiment. The mean pen-level daily (24-hour) data were used for comparison of behavior between treatments.

Performance monitoring

To minimize calf handling and allow continuous behavior monitoring in a normal feedlot environment for 21 consecutive days, calves were individually weighed prior to feeding on day 0 of experiment 1 (June 12) and days −1 (July 6), 0 (July 7), and 22 (July 29) of experiment 2. Therefore, the ADG and FE were calculated on the basis of body weight data collected on June 12 and July 6, 2015 for experiment 1 and on July 7 and July 29, 2015 for experiment 2. Feed efficiency was calculated on a pen level as the mean total dry matter consumed per calf per day during the experiment divided by the ADG. For each calf, ADG was calculated as (body weight on July 6 - body weight on June 12)/24 days for experiment 1 and (body weight on July 29 - body weight on July 7)/22 days for experiment 2.

Statistical analysis

Pen was designated as the experimental unit; thus, all data were evaluated on a pen-level basis. For each experiment, dependent variables of interest included daily distance traveled, PNF, and PNW. The daily distance traveled was a continuous variable with a Gaussian distribution. Daily PNF and PNW were continuous proportions that were fitted with β distributions. For each outcome variable, a generalized linear mixed modelf was fit to evaluate the effects of day (1 through 21), treatment (meloxicam or control), and interaction between day and treatment. Studentized residual plots were evaluated for normality and homoscedasticity; residuals with an absolute value ≥ 3 were further evaluated as potential outliers or influential observations. To account for the effect of daily repeated measures on each pen, which were not equally spaced because of missing data, a random intercept of pen within treatment and random residual of pen within treatment were incorporated into each model, and the covariance structure (first-order antedependence, spatial power, or spatial exponential) that provided the best model fit was selected for the random residual terms. Fixed effects with values of P < 0.05 were considered significant. When the interaction between day and treatment was significant, within-day comparisons between treatments were performed, with a more conservative value of P < 0.01 considered significant for those comparisons. When day was the only significant fixed effect, pairwise comparisons were performed between day 1 and all other days, with values of P < 0.01 considered significant for those comparisons. Results were reported as model-adjusted means ± SEM.

For experiment 1, FE was fit with a β distribution, and a generalized linear mixed model was used to compare FE between treatments. That model included a fixed effect for treatment and a random intercept for pen within treatment, and results were reported as the model-adjusted means ± SEM. The ADG data for experiment 1 were normally distributed, but residual analysis revealed heteroscedasticity of the residuals. Therefore, only descriptive statistics were generated for ADG during experiment 1.

For experiment 2, the generalized linear mixed model for FE had convergence issues. Additionally, the ADG data were not normally distributed and could not be normalized by transformation. Therefore, only descriptive statistics were generated for FE and ADG during experiment 2.

Results

Calves

During experiment 1 (transport phase), BRD was diagnosed in 6 calves and lameness was diagnosed in 2 calves. One calf (meloxicam treatment [pen 2]) required retreatment for BRD, and 1 calf (control treatment [pen 4]) required retreatment for lameness. During experiment 2 (nontransport phase), BRD was not diagnosed in any of the calves, and only 1 calf (control treatment [pen 3]) became lame and required multiple treatments.

Behavior data

For calves treated for BRD or lameness, behavior data for the day before, day of, and day after the disorder was diagnosed were excluded from all analyses to minimize the effect illness may have had on the behavior outcomes for those pens. Behavior data were also excluded from analyses for days when calves left the perimeters of their assigned pens (for experiment 1), which included behavior data for all calves on days 3 and 4, 1 calf (control treatment [pen 5]) on days 5 and 6, 3 calves (control treatment [pen 5; n = 1] and meloxicam treatment [pen 6; 2]) on day 5, and 1 calf (meloxicam treatment [pen 2]) on day 21.

Behavior data were also excluded from analyses because of malfunctioning RTLS tags. That included behavior data for 1 calf (meloxicam treatment for experiment 1 and control treatment for experiment 2; pen 6) during both experiments and for 1 calf (meloxicam treatment [pen 6]) on day 1 of experiment 1, 2 calves (meloxicam treatment [pens 3 and 10]) on day 2 of experiment 1, and 1 calf (control treatment [pen 5]) on day 14 of experiment 1. Additionally, behavior data for all calves were excluded from analyses on day 18 of experiment 1 and days 12, 19, 20, and 21 of experiment 2 because of system malfunctions or data corruption. Thus, behavior data were evaluated for only 18 days during experiment 1 and 17 days during experiment 2.

Experiment 1

During experiment 1, the interaction between day and treatment was not significantly associated with distance traveled (P = 0.70), PNW (P = 0.16), or PNF (P = 0.74). Likewise, the main effect for treatment was not significantly associated with distance traveled (P = 0.94), PNW (P = 0.39), or PNF (P = 0.81). However, the main effect for day was significantly (P < 0.001 for all outcomes) associated with distance traveled, PNW, and PNF, with significant differences between day 1 and various other days for all 3 behaviors (Figure 1). Descriptive statistics for the ADG and FE for the meloxicam and control treatments were summarized for both experiments (Table 1). Feed efficiency did not differ significantly (P = 0.61) between the calves that did and did not receive meloxicam prior to transport.

Figure 1—
Figure 1—

Model-adjusted mean ± SEM daily distance traveled (A), PNF (B), and PNW (C) for 100 crossbred beef steers that were considered at high risk of BRD and acquired from a livestock auction and transported approximately 1,000 km overnight to a feedlot facility in Missouri (experiment 1). Prior to transport, calves were randomly assigned to 1 of 10 pens at the receiving feedlot. Each pen of calves was randomly assigned to and administered 1 of 2 treatments: meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO; n = 5 pens [50 calves]) or a lactose placebo (1 capsule/calf, PO; 5 pens[50 calves]). At feedlot arrival, calves were instrumented with an RTLS tag that continuously monitored their location within their assigned pens relative to the pen perimeter as well as the feed bunk and waterer. Individual calf behavior data were monitored for 21 days and aggregated by pen on a daily basis. Results of generalized linear mixed models indicated that neither the interaction between day and treatment nor the main effect for treatment was significantly associated with any of the outcomes; therefore, the data for the 2 groups were combined. However, the main effect for day was significantly (P < 0.001) associated with all 3 outcomes. Behavior data for all calves were excluded from the analyses on days 3, 4, and 18 because the calves left the perimeter of their pens, the RTLS malfunctioned, or data were corrupted. *Value differs significantly (P < 0.01) from that for day 1.

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 78, 12; 10.2460/ajvr.78.12.1437

Table 1—

Descriptive statistics for FE and ADG for 100 crossbred beef steers that received meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO; n = 50) or a lactose placebo (1 capsule/calf, PO; 50; control) before long-distance transport (experiment 1) and a period without transportation (experiment 2).

  Experiment 1Experiment 2
VariableTreatment groupMean ± SEMSDMedian (range)Mean ± SEMSDMedian (range)
FEMeloxicam3.79 ± 0.390.883.41 (2.97–4.98)6.73 ± 0.420.946.94 (5.20–7.56)
 Control3.52 ± 0.120.283.42 (3.21–3.82)6.45 ± 0.370.846.96 (5.45–7.15)
ADG (kg/d)Meloxicam1.03 ± 0.100.211.10 (0.76–1.24)0.99 ± 0.060.140.91 (0.88–1.22)
 Control1.04 ± 0.040.081.00 (0.97–1.15)1.05 ± 0.080.170.98 (0.90–1.25)

Steers considered at high risk for BRD were acquired from a livestock auction in Tennessee and transported approximately 1,000 km overnight to a feedlot facility in Missouri (experiment 1 [June 11 to July 3, 2015]). Prior to transport, calves were randomly assigned to 1 of 10 pens, and each pen of calves was assigned to and administered a treatment: meloxicam or a placebo (day −1). At feedlot arrival (day 0), calves were instrumented with a RTLS tag to continuously monitor behavior and then placed in their assigned pens. Following a 21-day behavior observation period (days 1 through 22) and a 2-day washout period, calves were moved to a handling facility at the feedlot, administered the treatment opposite that administered in experiment 1, and returned to their assigned pens (day −1 of experiment 2 [July 6 to July 29, 2015]). Calves were individually weighed on day 0 of experiment 1 (June 12), and days −1 (July 6), 0 (July 7), and 22 (July 29) of experiment 2. Feed efficiency was calculated as the mean dry matter consumed per calf per day during the experiment divided by the ADG. For each calf, the ADG was calculated as (body weight on July 6 – body weight on June 12)/24 days for experiment 1 and (body weight on July 29 – body weight on July 7)/22 days for experiment 2.

Experiment 2

During experiment 2, the interaction between day and treatment was significantly associated with distance traveled (P < 0.01) but not PNW (P = 0.30) or PNF (P = 0.44). The main effect for treatment was not significantly associated with PNW (P = 0.31) or PNF (P = 0.62). However, the main effect for day was significantly (P < 0.001 for both outcomes) associated with PNW and PNF. Additionally, there were significant (P < 0.01) differences between day 1 and various other days for all 3 behaviors (Figure 2).

Figure 2—
Figure 2—

Model-adjusted mean ± SEM daily distance traveled (A), PNF (B), and PNW (C) for the steers of Figure 1 during experiment 2 when they were administered the treatment opposite that administered in experiment 1 prior to a 21-day observation period in which the calves did not undergo long-distance transport. Results of generalized linear mixed models indicated that the interaction between day and treatment was significantly associated with distance traveled (P < 0.01) but not PNF (P = 0.44) or PNW (P = 0.30). However, the distance traveled did not differ significantly (P ≥ 0.18 for all comparisons) between the 2 treatment groups on any day. The main effect of treatment was not significantly associated with PNF (P = 0.62) or PNW (P = 0.31); therefore, data for the meloxicam (black bars) and control (white bars) treatments are provided separately for distance traveled (A) but are combined for PNF (B) and PNW (C). The main effect for day was significantly (P < 0.001) associated with both PNF (B) and PNW (C). Behavior data for all calves were excluded from the analyses on days 12, 19, 20, and 21 because the RTLS malfunctioned or the data were corrupted. *Value differs significantly (P < 0.01) from the corresponding value on day 1.

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 78, 12; 10.2460/ajvr.78.12.1437

Discussion

Results of the present study indicated that administration of a single dose (1 mg/kg, PO) of meloxicam to feedlot cattle immediately prior to long-distance transport (experiment 1) or a period of nontransport (experiment 2) did not affect the subsequent performance of those cattle. Those findings were consistent with the results of another study20 in which administration of flunixin meglumine, an NSAID with a shorter plasma elimination half-life than meloxicam,21 to feedlot cattle before and after transport did not affect the subsequent dry-matter intake or FE of those cattle. However, results of another study7 indicate feedlot cattle that receive meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO) immediately before and daily for 7 days after a 24-hour transport period have increased ADG, dry-matter intake, and FE relative to control cattle that do not receive meloxicam. It is possible a significant performance difference between calves that were and were not treated with meloxicam would have been detected had the sample size for the treatment groups of the present study been larger or had the study calves been exposed to a different set of stressors in addition to long-distance transport. Alternatively, administration of a single dose of meloxicam to cattle prior to transport may not be sufficient to induce an improvement in performance.

In the United States, use of meloxicam to alleviate signs of pain or stress in cattle currently represents extralabel drug use under AMDUCA,6 and a tolerance for meloxicam residues in edible tissues has not been established by the FDA. Therefore, the detection of any meloxicam residue in the tissues of an animal at slaughter is considered a violation. Consequently, it is important for producers and veterinarians to consult the Food Animal Residue Avoidance and Depletion Program for guidance regarding appropriate withdrawal intervals for the production class and drug dose being considered before meloxicam is administered to cattle.

In the present study, the main effect of day was significantly associated with PNF and PNW in both experiments 1 and 2. However, there were not any clearly identifiable patterns in the day-to-day variability of eating and drinking behavior that could be linked to known study events or management practices, and the variability observed in those behaviors may simply have reflected normal variation at the pen level or have been the result of the calves reacting to stimuli that were not recorded or accounted for in the study, such as ambient temperature, weather events, or other daily activities occurring throughout the feedlot. Cattle are herd animals and often congregate near sources of feed and water even when they are not actively eating or drinking. Although we used PNF and PNW as proxy measures for the time calves spent eating or drinking, the data reflected only the amount of time the calves spent within 1 m of the feed bunk or waterers; the calves were not visually monitored to confirm that they were actually eating or drinking during the time they spent near the feed bunk and waterers. Therefore, the PNF and PNW data invariably included time during which calves were and were not actively eating and drinking. This lack of specificity in the PNF and PNW data regarding actual feeding and drinking behavior may have contributed to the lack of significant differences between treatments. Investigators of another study14 reported that heifers that were transported spent significantly more time within 0.3 m of a hay feeder than did nontransported controls on the day of transport, but the time spent near the waterer or feed bunk did not differ between heifers that were and were not transported.

Behavior differences between calves that did and did not receive meloxicam may have been present prior to initiation of behavior monitoring on day 1 of both experiments. Limitations associated with feedlot arrival and moving and sorting calves into their assigned pens precluded analysis of behavior data during the first 18 hours after treatment administration because data for a full 24 hours without disruption were unavailable. In another study,16 in which cattle were transported for 5, 10, or 15 hours, mean water consumption after transport was similar to that prior to transport for all 3 groups, but mean hay consumption during the 2 days following transport was less than that prior to transport for the group that was transported for 15 hours

Anecdotal reports from producers have frequently indicated cattle that are transported for a long distance generally rest soon after they are unloaded at their destination. During experiment 1, the mean daily distance traveled by all calves on days 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 11 was numerically less than that for the other days of the observation period. However, the behavior data for the first week after long-distance transport in experiment 1 should be interpreted with caution because the calves escaped their pens at some point during the evening of day 3, and although the data for days 3 and 4 were excluded from the analyses, it is impossible to distinguish to what extent the mean daily distance traveled by the calves on days 5 through 7 was affected by the long-distance transport on days −1 and 0 versus the extracurricular activities of the calves on the evening of day 3. During experiment 1, the mean daily distance traveled by calves during the period of days 8 through 17 and days 19 through 21 was significantly greater than that on day 1, except for day 11, during which the mean daily distance traveled was similar to that on day 1. Fresh sand was placed under the shades in each pen on day 11, which may have explained, at least partially, why calf activity appeared to decrease on that day. Results of another unpublished study conducted by our research group indicate that cattle behavior can vary substantially following a seemingly innocuous handling event, so careful consideration of the impact of routine feedlot management practices on cattle behavior and the potential it poses for inducing unwanted variability should be considered during behavior research.

During experiment 2, a difference in the distance traveled over time was observed between the meloxicam-treated calves and control calves, although the mean daily distance traveled did not differ significantly between pens that housed the meloxicam-treated calves and those that housed the control calves during any particular day. This was unsurprising because examination of the data revealed that the SEM for the mean distance traveled at the pen level was fairly large. A larger sample size may have increased the precision of the estimate and revealed significant differences between the meloxicam-treated and control calves within study days, but it is also possible that other factors, such as weather and human interactions, may have a stronger impact on cattle behavior than meloxicam administration.

Calf performance and behavior should not be directly compared between experiments 1 and 2 because during experiment 1, calves were stressed from commingling at the sale barn, long-distance transport, and processing and sorting into their assigned pens at feedlot arrival, whereas during experiment 2, calves were acclimated to the feedlot environment, and the social hierarchy among calves within each pen was firmly established. However, the purpose of the present study was not to compare performance and behavior between calves that were and were not transported but rather to evaluate the effect of meloxicam on the performance and behavior of calves that underwent long-distance transport and those that were acclimated to their environment. Therefore, discussion of the results and our conclusions were limited to comparisons between meloxicam-treated calves and control calves within each of the 2 experiments.

In experiment 1, administration of a single dose (1 mg/kg, PO) of meloxicam to calves prior to long-distance transport did not significantly affect the FE or behavior of those calves during the subsequent 3 weeks. The lack of significant associations in this study may have been a function of the small sample size, a fairly short transport event relative to that of similar studies that evaluated the effect of meloxicam on transported cattle, a delay in the start of behavior monitoring, or an indication that multiple doses of meloxicam must be administered to induce a detectable effect on behavior. Also, meloxicam may induce a detectable effect on behavior only in calves that are affected by stressors such as weaning and castration in addition to long-distance transport. Although evidence suggests that meloxicam has the potential to positively affect transported cattle, more research is necessary to elucidate the effects of meloxicam on the performance and behavior of cattle after long-distance transport.

Acknowledgments

Supported by an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant (No. 2013-67015-21332) from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The authors declare that there were no conflicts of interest.

The authors thank Dr. Dan Goehl, Dr. Natalia Cernicchiaro, Dr. Doug Shane, Dr. Miles Theurer, Sarah Ensley, Dr. Elli Unruh, and Mark Spare for technical assistance.

ABBREVIATIONS

ADG

Average daily gain

BRD

Bovine respiratory disease

FE

Feed efficiency

PNF

Percentage time spent near feed

PNW

Percentage time spent near water

RTLS

Real-time location-monitoring system

Footnotes

a.

Draxxin, Zoetis, Florham Park, NJ.

b.

UltraChoice 7, Zoetis, Florham Park, NJ.

c.

Bovi-Shield Gold 5, Zoetis, Florham Park, NJ.

d.

Cydectin, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc, St Joseph, Mo.

e.

REDI tag, MKW Electronics GmbH, Weibern, Austria.

f.

PROC GLIMMIX, SAS, version 9.4, SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC.

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Contributor Notes

Dr. Capik's present address is Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University System, Amarillo, TX 79106; and the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

Dr. Coetzee's present address is Department of Anatomy and Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Address correspondence to Dr. Capik (sarah.capik@ag.tamu.edu).