Serious disease, lifelong impact — bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is one of the leading health concerns impacting heifer calves on dairies, even on the best-managed operations. Be armed with these three facts about BRD, and know the signs to watch for should BRD find its way into your herd.
Know the facts about BRD
Respiratory conditions can have a lifelong impact on heifer calves.
o Heifer calves impacted by pneumonia during the first 90 days of life are more likely to experience older age at first calving, higher incidence of dystocia, lower milk production, and lower survival to first calving.
o Respiratory disease also can reduce average daily gain of heifer calves, which can lead to reproductive challenges.
Identifying BRD symptoms early is crucial.
o By immediately detecting early signs of this detrimental disease, you can improve the chances of preventing chronic infections for better future lifetime productivity.
Early treatment can reduce the impact of respiratory disease.
o If you spot calfhood respiratory disease symptoms in your heifer calves, treat them before the disease progresses. This will help protect your herd’s health, as well as your operation’s bottom line.
Know the symptoms of BRD
To best combat BRD risks, keep an eye out and an ear to the ground every day when walking through the barn. Watch and listen for common BRD symptoms calves may demonstrate — symptoms such as:
• Eye discharge
• Nasal discharge
• Ear droop
• Head tilt
• Increased breathing rate
• Elevated temperature
• Slow, reduced or zero milk intake during feeding
• Slow to rise at feeding time
• Slow to lie down after eating
When the cost to raise one heifer from birth to freshening averages between $1,860 and $2,263, can you afford to take a chance on BRD?