Bovine respiratory disease complex continues to be an important health issue in the beef cattle industry.1–5 In a national survey, > 33% of cow-calf producers agreed or strongly agreed that BRDC is economically important to their operation.6 In the same study,6 respiratory tract disease was reported as the cause of death for 8.2% of the calves that died before weaning. In 2 multiyear studies,7,8 the cumulative incidence of preweaning BRDC within herds ranged from 3.3% to 23.5% and 8.5% to 65.4%. Calves with preweaning BRDC had mean body weights that were 16.5 and 7.7 kg (36.3 and 16.9 lb) less than the mean body weights of their cohorts at weaning.7,9 Morbidity associated with preweaning BRDC can negatively affect calf sale weight and can result in deaths among preweaned calves, thereby reducing the weights and number of calves that are sold by cow-calf operators and impacting herd profitability.
Risk factors for BRDC for both feedlot cattle and preweaned dairy calves have been well documented.10–14 However, management of preweaned beef calves is much different from that of preweaned dairy calves; therefore, it cannot be assumed that risk factors for preweaning BRDC in the beef cattle industry would be similar to those in the dairy industry. To our knowledge, there are no reports of large-scale studies to investigate management factors associated with preweaning BRDC in cow-calf herds.
The USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System Beef 2007–2008 study generated data on management factors and disease occurrences for US cow-calf herds.15 The purpose of the study reported here was to use those data to provide a unique assessment of potential associations between cow-calf herd management practices and the rate of BRDC in preweaned beef calves. Identification of cow-calf management factors that are associated with BRDC-related morbidity in preweaned calves would allow further focus on potential management changes or preventive medicine approaches that are most likely to offer the largest positive impact on this important disease syndrome.
Bovine respiratory disease complex
Bovine respiratory syncytial virus
Bovine viral diarrhea virus
Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis
Incidence rate ratio
svy, Stata, StataCorp LP, College Station, Tex.
1. Duff GC, Galyean ML. Board invited review: recent advances in management of highly stressed, newly received feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci 2007; 85: 823–840.
2. Snowder GD. Bovine respiratory disease in feedlot cattle: environmental, genetic, and economic factors. J Anim Sci 2006; 84: 1999–2008.
4. Smith RA. Therapeutic management of bovine respiratory disease complex. In: Bovine respiratory disease: a sourcebook for the veterinary professional. Trenton, NJ: Veterinary Learning Systems, 1996.
6. USDA APHIS Veterinary Services. NAHMS beef 2007–08 part IV: reference of beef-cow calf management practices in the United States. 2009; 10147.
7. Snowder GD, Van Vleck LD, Cundiff LV, et al. Influence of breed, heterozygosity, and disease incidence on estimates of variance components of respiratory disease in preweaned beef calves. J Anim Sci 2005; 83: 1247–1261.
8. Muggli-Cockett NE. Genetic analysis of bovine respiratory disease in beef calves during the first year of life. J Anim Sci 1992; 70: 2013–2019.
9. Wittum TE, Woollen NE, Perino LJ, et al. Relationships among treatment for respiratory tract disease, pulmonary lesions evident at slaughter, and rate of weight gain in feedlot cattle. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996; 209: 814–818.
10. Van Donkersgoed J. Epidemiological study of enzootic pneumonia in dairy calves in Saskatchewan. Can J Vet Res 1993; 57: 247–254.
11. Svensson C, Lundborg K, Emanuelson U, et al. Morbidity in Swedish dairy calves from birth to 90 days of age and individual calf-level risk factors for infectious diseases. Prev Vet Med 2003; 58: 179–197.
12. Svensson C, Hultgren J, Oltenacu PA. Morbidity in 3–7-month-old dairy calves in south-western Sweden, and risk factors for diarrhoea and respiratory disease. Prev Vet Med 2006; 74: 162–179.
13. Lago A, McGuirk SM, Bennett TB, et al. Calf respiratory disease and pen microenvironments in naturally ventilated calf barns in winter. J Dairy Sci 2006; 89: 4014–4025.
14. Sanderson MW, Dargatz DA, Wagner B. Risk factors for initial respiratory disease in United States' feedlots based on producer-collected daily morbidity counts. Can Vet J 2008; 49: 373–378.
15. USDA APHIS Veterinary Services. NAHMS beef 2007–08 part I: reference of beef-cow calf management practices in the United States, 2007–2008. 2008; 10147.
16. USDA APHIS Veterinary Services. NAHMS beef 2007–08 part II: reference of beef-cow calf management practices in the United States, 2007–2008. 2009; 10147.
19. Heeringa S, West B, Berglund P. Chapter 3.6: foundations and techniques for design-based estimation and inference. In: Applied survey data analysis. Boca Raton, Fla: Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2010; 68–74.
20. Dewell R, Hungerford LL, Keen JE, et al. Association of neonatal serum immunoglobulin G1 concentration with health and performance in beef calves. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2006; 228: 914–921.
21. Chenoweth PJ, Sanderson MW. Health and production management in beef cattle breeding herds. In: Radostits O, ed. Herd health: food animal production medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co, 2001; 509–580.
22. Wittum TE, Salman MD, King ME, et al. Individual animal and maternal risk factors for morbidity and mortality of neonatal beef calves in Colorado. Prev Vet Med 1994; 19: 1–13.
24. Edwards TA. Control methods for bovine respiratory disease in feedlot cattle. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2010; 26: 273–284.
26. Wikse SE, Kinsel ML, Field RW, et al. An epidemiologic approach to solving beef herd production and disease problems. Vet Med 1994; 87: 495–506.