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Clinical scoring systems have been proposed for respiratory disease diagnosis in calves, including the Wisconsin (WI) system (McGuirk in 2008) which uses five clinical signs, each partitioned into four levels of severity. Recently, we developed the California (CA) bovine respiratory disease (BRD) scoring system requiring less calf handling and consisting of six clinical signs, each classified as normal or abnormal. The objective of this study was to estimate the on-farm agreement between the WI and the CA scoring systems. A total of 100 calves were enrolled on a CA dairy and assessed for BRD case status using the two scoring systems simultaneously. The Kappa coefficient of agreement between these two systems was estimated to be 0.85, which indicated excellent agreement beyond chance. The simpler design and reduced calf handling required by the CA BRD scoring system may make it advantageous for on-farm use.
The Bovine Respiratory Disease Coordinated Agricultural Project (BRD CAP) is a 5-year project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), with an overriding objective to use the tools of modern genomics to identify cattle that are less susceptible to BRD. To do this, two large genome wide association studies (GWAS) were conducted using a case:control design on preweaned Holstein dairy heifers and beef feedlot cattle. A health scoring system was used to identify BRD cases and controls. Heritability estimates for BRD susceptibility ranged from 19 to 21% in dairy calves to 29.2% in beef cattle when using numerical scores as a semi-quantitative definition of BRD. A GWAS analysis conducted on the dairy calf data showed that single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) effects explained 20% of the variation in BRD incidence and 17–20% of the variation in clinical signs. These results represent a preliminary analysis of ongoing work to identify loci associated with BRD. Future work includes validation of the chromosomal regions and SNPs that have been identified as important for BRD susceptibility, fine mapping of chromosomes to identify causal SNPs, and integration of predictive markers for BRD susceptibility into genetic tests and national cattle genetic evaluations.
Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in dairy calves. As the number of calves being raised on the dairy farm or at a calf-raising operation has become larger, both opportunity and risk have increased. Opportunities for applying economies of size and scale exist in these large dairy calf populations while meeting specific needs of the dairy calf. BRD control requires effective biosecurity and biocontainment efforts, adequate passive transfer of immunoglobulins, a strategic immunization program, and appropriate diagnostic strategies for ongoing disease surveillance. These components are necessary to achieve an evidence-based approach for preventing and reducing severity of BRD cases. Proper nutrition, housing, and environmental management are important for achieving optimal dairy calf health and performance. Good record keeping and analysis of outcomes are needed to document dairy calf health and performance and to efficiently identify new problems that require attention in these large dairy calf populations. Proper management of calves to prevent and control BRD requires careful planning and follow through to achieve those results but will likely pay big dividends in improved calf health and future productivity.
Public health officials and physicians are concerned about possible development of bacterial resistance and potential effects on human health that may be related to the use of antimicrobial agents in livestock feed. The focus of this research is aimed at determining the economic effects that subtherapeutic bans of antimicrobials would have on both swine producers and consumers. The results show that a ban on growth promotants for swine would be costly, totaling $242.5 million annually, with swine producers sharing the larger portion in the short run and consumers sharing the larger portion in the long run.
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