Decrease BRD Re-treatments. Decrease Losses.
Three ways eliminating extra pulls and re-treatments helps improve your returns
By John Pollreisz, DVM, Beef Technical Services, Zoetis
It’s simple to look at your profit and loss statement and see exactly how much you are spending on treatment medications for bovine respiratory disease (BRD). But BRD could be impacting more areas of your profit and loss, especially if you don’t treat it effectively. These other costs aren’t as easy to see, but they often represent a more significant part of the equation.
A recent meta-analysis conducted by Iowa State University shows that some injectable BRD antibiotic treatments could be causing approximately two to five times more re-treats on your operation compared with more effective treatment options.1,* This means you could be purchasing at least twice as many antibiotics, having your labor administering twice as many treatments and having nearly twice as many prolonged BRD cases that can negatively impact gain, feed efficiency, carcass quality grade, hot carcass weight, carcass yield grade and, ultimately, your net revenue.
Reducing unneeded re-treats on your operation is one way to help reduce significant impacts to performance and your profits. Here are three ways this can help:
- Unpulled cattle outgain pulled cattle.2,**
It’s no secret that when cattle are healthy, they eat, gain and convert better. Even subtle changes in feeding behavior can have a big impact on performance and carcass value. Average daily gain (ADG) can change depending on time of year, number of pulled cattle that were repulled, borderline chronics and how many days the cattle were fed, but one study found an impact of an approximately 0.2 pound loss in ADG with each additional treatment for BRD.2,** In my experience, I believe that this value often underestimates the impact more BRD re-treatments have on ADG.
- Reduce feed costs.
The longer a bout of BRD, the more one can expect reduced feed intake and increased days on feed. Decreasing re-treats with a more effective BRD treatment not only means having more first-time treatment success, but also cattle that are on feed for less time and gain weight more effectively.
- When you factor in compromised growth, re-treatment for BRD is almost always more expensive than the first treatment.
You could lose nearly $15.86 per head in return for cattle treated twice versus cattle treated once according to one study published in 2013.3,*** In addition to factoring in this lost return, you’ll also need to consider additional costs associated with re-treatments, including additional medication costs, labor expenses, veterinarian fees, higher feed costs from decreased feed efficiency and death losses.
You won’t feed cattle your worst feed. Your BRD treatment shouldn’t be any different. By starting with a more effective antibiotic, or rather improving your first-treatment success, your healthier cattle can be on your best feed for less time and gain weight — and your overall profits — more effectively.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Draxxin has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 18 days in cattle. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in animals known to be hypersensitive to the product. See full Prescribing Information.
About the author
John “J.P.” Pollreisz is a managing veterinarian with Zoetis Beef Technical Services and has been with Zoetis since 1992 (then SmithKline Beecham). In his current role, Dr. Pollreisz is focused on and passionate about prevention and control of bovine respiratory disease and integrated health and performance management throughout the beef production chain — from ranch to feedlot finishing.
Dr. Pollreisz grew up on a small beef and horse farm in Illinois and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois in 1985. Prior to joining Zoetis, he served as a staff veterinarian at an integrated ranching, feedlot and packing plant operation in western Nebraska; as a veterinarian at a mixed animal practice in Fairbury, Nebraska; and as a consulting veterinarian for Palo Duro Veterinary Services in Canyon, Texas, helping backgrounding and feeding operations across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois and Wisconsin. He is a member of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and previously served on their board of directors and as the first appointee for their National Cattlemen’s Association Beef Quality Assurance Task Force, which began in 1991, for the first three years of the task force.
Zoetis (NYSE: ZTS) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2017, the company generated annual revenue of $5.3 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.
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*Based on a meta-analysis,1 Bio-Mycin® (oxytetracycline injection) has a relative risk of re-treatment at 4.44,† Micotil® (tilmicosin) has a relative risk of re-treatment of 1.87,† Zuprevo® (tildipirosin) is 1.95† and Zactran® (gamithromycin) is 1.88† compared with 1.00† for Draxxin® (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution for BRD treatment.
**In a study, cattle treated zero, one, two or more than two times had ADG of 3.23, 3.00, 2.83 and 2.73 pounds/day, respectively. This is a difference of approximately 0.2 pound.2
***In one study published in 2013, cattle treated twice returned a profit of $1.93, whereas cattle treated only once for BRD returned a profit of $17.79, or a difference of $15.86.3
†Not based on clinical outcomes
1 O’Connor AM, Yuan C, Cullen JN, Coetzee JK, da Silva N, Wang C. A mixed treatment meta-analysis of antibiotic treatment options for bovine respiratory disease — An Update. Prev Vet Med. 2016;132:130-139.
2 Brooks KR, Raper KC, Ward CE, Holland BP, Krehbiel BP, Step DL. Economic effects of bovine respiratory disease on feedlot cattle during backgrounding and finishing phases. Prof Anim Sci. 2011;27(3):195-203.
3 Cernicchiaro N, White BJ, Renter DG, Babcock AH. Evaluation of economic and performance outcomes associated with the number of treatments after an initial diagnosis of bovine respiratory disease in commercial feeder cattle. Am J Vet Res. 2013;74(2):300-309.
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