Amy Stanton, DVM, from
While the costs of treatment and prevention of BRD are significant, perhaps the most underestimated cost of this disease is the long-term effect on the health and growth of calves. Some of these costs include decreased growth, delayed time to first calving, and increased risk of dystocia. In addition, calves treated for BRD before 3 months of age are 2.5 times more likely to die after 90 days of age than calves not treated for BRD.
Another important step is to identify indicators for detecting calves that fail to adapt to a new environment, and are at risk for the development of disease. Behavioral indicators of poor growth and subclinical disease are emerging, but more is needed to make this information practical for implementation by producers.
Early identification of sick animals can reduce the number of re-treatments necessary, which will reduce both the treatment costs and the length of time calves suffer. An easy system for long-term monitoring of BRD recovery is to chart growth to identify calves with poor performance. While this approach requires a change in the way many producers manage calves, there is a potential for many benefits. By weighing calves at regular intervals, producers can identify calves those with poor gains and intervene. However, the appropriate interventions are not always clear.
“If lung damage is extensive, and the calf is suffering and unable to recover, euthanasia might be appropriate,”