Pilot study to evaluate methodology of comparing risk factors for respiratory disease in weaned homebred calves on different English commercial beef farms

Project number:                    72110

Lead contractor:                   Raft Solutions Ltd

Start & end date:                   12 December 2011 – 30 June 2012

Actual end date:                    26 November 2012

 

The Problem:

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) remains a major problem on many beef farms yet in theory we should know how to control this health problem.

 

Project Aims:

This study aims to investigate if it is the well known causes of BRD that are contributing to the outbreak of disease or if other factors are contributing.

 

Approach:

3 high and 3 low incidence farms were recruited.  A Pneumonia MOT was conducted on each of these to assess factors such as the ventilation, stocking rates, humidity of the buildings along with in depth serological investigations to attempt to identify the causes of the outbreaks on the 3 high incidence farms.  The data collected comprised three elements; animal, pathogen and environmental data.

This project also forms part of a veterinary pharmacology student’s course work.

 

Results:

The key findings of pilot BRD study were of THREE main themes emerging with regard to a farms susceptibility to a BRD outbreak:

1.  Animal issues – immunity

  • Species characteristics
  • Stocking rate
  • Nutrition

2.  Environment – housing and ventilation

  • Housing
  • Ventilation (inlet/outlet)

3.  Pathogens – changing profile of key pathogens

  • Viruses
  • Role of BVD
  • Emerging pathogens (e.g. Mycoplasma bovis)
  • Biosecurity issues with purchased stock

 

Planned Activity: 

  • Incorporate lessons learned into BRP messages, including press articles and events.
  • Develop a knowledge transfer tool in the form of a Pneumonia MOT that we can roll out to industry.
  • The MSc student involved in this study will be invited to the AHDB studentship seminar to present their results.