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Control of BRD in large dairy calf populations

Lehenbauer, Terry W.
Animal health research reviews 2014 v.15 no.2 pp. 184-185
biocontainment, biosecurity, bovine respiratory disease, dairy calves, dairy farming, disease surveillance, environmental management, immunization, immunoglobulins, morbidity, mortality, nutrition, planning, risk
Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in dairy calves. As the number of calves being raised on the dairy farm or at a calf-raising operation has become larger, both opportunity and risk have increased. Opportunities for applying economies of size and scale exist in these large dairy calf populations while meeting specific needs of the dairy calf. BRD control requires effective biosecurity and biocontainment efforts, adequate passive transfer of immunoglobulins, a strategic immunization program, and appropriate diagnostic strategies for ongoing disease surveillance. These components are necessary to achieve an evidence-based approach for preventing and reducing severity of BRD cases. Proper nutrition, housing, and environmental management are important for achieving optimal dairy calf health and performance. Good record keeping and analysis of outcomes are needed to document dairy calf health and performance and to efficiently identify new problems that require attention in these large dairy calf populations. Proper management of calves to prevent and control BRD requires careful planning and follow through to achieve those results but will likely pay big dividends in improved calf health and future productivity.