Among the pathogens involved in bovine respiratory disease complex, Mycoplasma bovis is notorious for being difficult to identify and challenging to treat. “In some classes of cattle, M. bovi has grown to become one of the biggest concerns among respiratory pathogens,” says Pfizer Animal Health veterinarian Daniel Scruggs. “However, it may be difficult to recognize early in the disease process, so treatment may be delayed, resulting in less favorable recovery. Like any other respiratory pathogen, the key to controlling and treating M. bovis is early detection and effective anti-microbial therapy.”

Scruggs explains that respiratory disease caused by M. bovi progresses slowly, and affected cattle might not show obvious signs of illness until much later than calves with respiratory disease caused by other pathogens. When left untreated during the earliest stages of infection, affected cattle become chronically ill or recover slowly.

Typical early warning signs include a low-grade fever, slight cough, an increase in breathing rate, mild depression and runny eyes. Scruggs says early detection and treatment with a proven, effective antibiotic that fights M. bovi and the other major BRD pathogens will reduce chronics, death loss and risks to performance.

Scruggs also emphasizes the importance of minimizing exposure. Don’t keep chronics in hospital pens adjacent to new pulls or recently received cattle. Sort hospital cattle and remove non-responders to a location that does not jeopardize healthy or recently pulled cattle.