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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.