Current and future strategies of bovine respiratory disease diagnostics and treatments



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Kansas State University


Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the most common and costly disease affecting cattle in the world today. The disease was first described in the late 1800s and is one of the most extensively studied diseases of livestock. BRD accounts for 65 - 80% of the morbidity and 45 - 75% of the mortality in some feedlots. Outbreaks typically occur around 10 days after transportation with the majority of deaths occurring within the first 45 days of arrival. Bacterial pathogens, physiologic stressors, and concurrent viral infections are all important factors causing BRD; other factors include seasonality, heritability, and breed tolerance. Diagnostic and treatment measures are continually being critiqued and researched. Even with continued research and the administration of antibiotics, BRD still continues to be a problem for the beef industry. Remote early detection and previous calf history are two resources that can help feedlots diagnose the disease earlier, or prevent it entirely. Feeding behavior and physical exams of the calves can also aid in early detection. New antibiotics and treatment methods have been developed, but the BRD problem still exists. Since the disease is most problematic in feedlot cattle, treatment of a large number of cattle in this setting can be costly, and often, performance and carcass traits are also affected. New preventative measures will be crucial to the industry with the continued problems and consequences of BRD. Improved treatment options and enhanced diagnostic tools will also be imperative for the control and treatment of BRD in the future.



Bovine Respiratory Disease, Diagnostics, Treatments, Cattle

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Master of Science


Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology

Major Professor

Alison P. Adams