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Economic Impact Associated with Bovine Respiratory Disease in Beef Cattle

Research has shown that the estimated cost of treating cattle with bovine respiratory disease, from weaning to slaughter, is equal to approximately 7% of the total production cost, compared with animals that do not experience bovine respiratory disease.  Greater emphasis must be placed on prevention of bovine respiratory disease.

D. Griffin.  Economic Impact Associated with Respiratory Disease in Beef Cattle. 
Vet Clinic North Am Food Anim Pract.  1997 Nove; 12(3):367-77.


11. Study questions

Study questions:

1. Why are antibiotics, alone, insufficient to stop economic losses from bovine respiratory disease?

2. List the disease control management factors that can help prevent bovine respiratory disease.

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The Cost of Bovine Respiratory Disease

Gross lesions of bovine respiratory disease include lung lesions and lymph nodes that are swollen and enlarged.  One study from Oklahoma (1) compared steers without lung lesions to steers with lung lesions and affected lymph nodes.  The steers with lung lesions and affected lymph nodes had $74 less net return, of which 21% was due to medicine costs and 79% due to lower carcass weight and lower quality of meat.  Note that this study agrees fairly close with the Texas study (2) that estimated a $93 less return for each sick animal, with medicine costs amounting to 31% of the estimated economic loss.

(1) B.A. Gardner, et. al. Impact of Health on Profitabilty of Feedlot Steers.   In: 1998 Animal Science Research Report.  Beef and Dairy Cattle, Swine, Poultry, Sheep, Horses and Animal Products, Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Division of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University, July 1998.

(2) John W. McNeill, Extension Animal Science, Texas A&M University.  Profits and Carcass Quality.