Hot or cold, extreme temperatures can challenge cattle’s health. Typical summer stressors, like heat, dust, crowding and a change in nutritional profile, amplify a range of risks, including bovine respiratory disease (BRD). To maintain healthy herds and consistent performance, producers need to understand how cattle respond to heat in order to make good decisions about the health of their animals during the summer months.
With all the decisions cattlemen make and the investment behind each animal, it’s amazing how often important health management choices come down to a knee-jerk reaction. Responsible producers already have a trove of health data on their herds, but treatment records are more than just an expense tracker and compliance necessity. With further examination, they can be a key tool to make better decisions.
Say you spot an animal, probably a recent arrival, looking rough. It appears gaunt and sluggish, is breathing heavily, dragging its feet and maybe even suffering from nasal discharge, diarrhea and or fever. What conditions and treatments are on your radar? Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is a good guess, but don’t end your list there. Other dangerous conditions also can mimic respiratory symptoms.
Bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) treatment starts with prevention, for good reason. Implemented properly, a strong health program will generate antibodies against dangerous bacteria and viruses, stimulate a strong immune response and reduce the threat from parasites. However, if these precautions aren’t successful, BRD pathogens can invade and are destructive, opportunistic and quick to develop into dangerous multi-pathogen complexes.