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Can Vet J. 2010 Dec;51(12):1351-9.

The epidemiology of bovine respiratory disease: what is the evidence for preventive measures?

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Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Oklahoma State University Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078, USA.


Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the most common and costly disease of beef cattle in North America. Despite extensive research, industry practices are often more informed by dogma than by fact. Frequently advocated interventions, including vaccination, various processing procedures, and nutritional manipulation, have limited impact on morbidity and mortality. Evidence for use of oral antimicrobials, either in feed or water, appears to be equivocal. In contrast, preconditioning and metaphylaxis have significant scientific evidence of efficacy, with weaning prior to sale potentially being the most important component of preconditioning. The inability to reach more definitive conclusions in preventing BRD may be attributable to difficulties in investigating the disease. Study challenges include potential for extensive confounding, tremendous variability, the multi-factorial nature of the disease, and inadequate methods for diagnosis.

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