Optimize cattle Health On Arrival

High-risk cattle can have high rewards with the right health program

By Lee Bob Harper, DVM, Managing Veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health, Cattle and Equine Technical Services

When a load of cattle arrives, producers know it’s critical to have water, feed and a good health program ready. The first step to developing such a program is assessing the level of risk, which often can be done before the truck arrives. Among other factors, it’s important to take into account past cattle health associated with the source/supplier, distance traveled, weather, age of the cattle and vaccination history.

Next, producers should work with their veterinarian to determine if on-arrival control for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is necessary. If the risk of loss due to poor health merits on-arrival control, consider a product with a longer post-metaphylaxis interval (PMI) period. Simply put, a PMI is the amount of time to confidently wait before pulling an animal for first BRD treatment following metaphylaxis.

Some of today’s antimicrobials are effective for a longer duration, allowing cattle to adjust to their new surroundings without additional handling that traditional antimicrobial choices may require. Options with a longer duration can also mean employees can spend more time on other aspects of the operation beyond treating sick calves.

To fully realize the benefits from a longer duration antimicrobial, it’s important to respect the PMI and resist falling back into old habits of pulling and re-treating. Every additional treatment adds to the medical bill of a sick calf, but a change in routine to using a longer acting antimicrobial can have a direct affect on an operation’s bottom line.

In addition to duration, it’s also important to consider proven clinical effectiveness against important pathogens such as Mycoplasma bovis when producers and veterinarians are making on-arrival treatment selections. M. bovis can contribute to BRD, and not all antimicrobials can control this costly problem.

High-risk calves can have high rewards, and cattle health program is an important contributor to the outcome.

About Pfizer Animal Health

Pfizer Animal Health, a business unit of Pfizer Inc, is a world leader in the discovery, development and manufacture of innovative animal health vaccines, medicines, diagnostic products and genetic tests. We work to assure a safe, sustainable global food supply from healthy beef and dairy cattle, swine, poultry, sheep and fish while helping dogs, cats and horses live healthier longer lives. We strive to be the animal health company that provides full healthcare solutions to veterinarians, livestock producers, and pet owners. To learn more, visit www.animalhealth.pfizer.com.

For further information, Contact:

Jean Lonie
Pfizer Animal Health

Kori Conley
Bader Rutter

Before joining the Pfizer Animal Health team in 2005, Lee Bob Harper spent three years an associate veterinarian at Hansford County Veterinary Hospital in Spearman, Texas. In addition to his experience in mixed-animal medicine, Harper consulted with feedlot, stocker and cow/calf operators in all areas of preventive health and health management. Prior to entering private practice, Dr. Harper was a teaching assistant at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and served as a supplemental instructor.

Originally from Gruver, Texas, Harper received both his bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from Texas A&M University. Raised on a five-generation farming and ranching operation near Gruver, Texas, Harper has lifelong experience in beef production, including feedlot, stocker and cow/calf enterprises.



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