BRD is not only one of the most frustrating parts of cattle health but also one of the costliest. BRD causes an estimated $800 million to $900 million annually in economic loss (Drovers, The Economic Cost of Feedlot BRD, 2017). It’s a big problem in the cattle industry which is why so many pharmaceutical companies have taken an initiative to come up with a vaccine to combat it.
What is BRD?
BRD, or Bovine Respiratory Disease (aka “Shipping Fever”), is a multi-factor disease, meaning different factors must come together to cause the disease. These different factors include stress, mixing, weather and pathogens. There are many different pathogens that can help cause BRD, including but not limited to IBR, PI3, BRSV, BVD, bovine coronavirus, Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, Mycoplasma and lungworms.
BVD is a significant cause of BRD. BVD can suppress the immune system of cattle up to 90%, allowing other pathogens to easily take over the suppressed immune system. In 1992, Dr. Haines found that 37% of all the fatal BRD cases were positive for BVD. In 2001, Dr. Haines again found that 40% of all fatal BRD cases were positive for BVD. In 2002, Dr. Shahriar found that BVD was present in 62.5% of all BRD mortalities.
How prevalent is BVD in cattle operations? Out of 1,900 samples of sick cattle sent to Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, BVD was the 2nd most common pathogen found, totaling 30% of the samples. Another study published in 2002 showed BVD was present in 35% of feedyard mortalities.
If you could remove BVD from your operation how much would your BRD drop? According to a study by Loneragan in 2005, exposure to BVD-PI animals resulted in a 43% increase in BRD.
Lowering BRD, by removing BVD, is a VGD (very good deal). Increase your profits when bringing in cattle this fall by testing for and removing BVD-PI animals.