Cattle breathing easier?

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A UC Davis research team has been awarded $2.6 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry out integrated research, education and Cooperative Extension outreach aimed at reducing the incidence of bovine respiratory disease, or pneumonia, the leading cause of death in beef and dairy cattle. BRD is responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million animals per year and the loss of $692 million. Researchers will work to improve diagnostics and develop cost-effective genomic and management approaches through several collaborations.

The funding is part of a 5-year, $9.2 million USDA Coordinated Agricultural Project, involving researchers at Texas A&M University, UC Davis, Washington State University, University of Missouri, Colorado State University and New Mexico State University.

Terry Lehenbauer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, Tulare, will lead a project at a calf ranch for discovering the genetic components for BRD resistance and the interaction of pathogens and other factors that influence the risk of disease in young Holstein calves prior to weaning. He will also manage a case-control study to distinguish genetic differences in calves with and without clinical BRD caused by common viral and bacterial pathogens. Grant funding will also support a 12-month veterinary internship in Tulare focusing on BRD clinical experience and research opportunities.

Laurel Gershwin, a veterinary immunologist and microbiologist, will be working with seven agents of bovine respiratory disease as part of the project. She will also collaborate on a case-control study to evaluate the effect of pain-controlling medication on the signs and behavior of cattle with and without BRD.

Cooperative Extension outreach activities and educational materials will relate to best management practices for beef and dairy cattle BRD control and prevention.

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