Elizabeth Parker, DVM, serves as chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. She told symposium participants that while there have been many advances in research and management regarding a large number of cattle health issues, BRD is one major disease that continues to cause tremendous economic and production problems. Losses include treatment costs, lost production and death. The complexity of the disease and the wide variety of stress factors and disease agents, both viral and bacterial, contribute to the continuing problem.
Management improvements and vaccine availability have helped to prevent disease occurrence but much more research needs to be done in order to increase prevention success and decrease losses due to BRD.
The trend in food animal production has been a dwindling amount of Federal dollars going to disease research, and Parker says that trend needs to be reversed. “Producers need more tools to prevent and treat this disease,” she says. “This includes research on cattle management, vaccines, a better understanding of the multiple and complex causes, with subsequent risk mitigation measures identified, and treatment options.” Producers, she adds, benefit greatly from targeted research that can be applied to the production setting.
Education and outreach goes hand in hand with a successful research program. Outreach to deliver information and training directly to producers as research provides mitigation and management tools for prevention and/ or treatment are necessary components for success over this disease.