BRD Forum Discusses Latest Respiratory Research

EU - The Merial Ruminants team successfully organised the first Merial Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) Forum in Lisbon, on 30th September and 1st October. The event was attended by veterinary practitioners and researchers from 15 European countries.
calendar icon 3 November 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Speakers emphasised new epidemiological, economic and therapeutic approaches to BRD control, in line with the current constraints on the beef cattle industry (higher feed costs, CAP uncertainties). Below are some of the highights.

Dr Ana Viera (Grupo RF, Portugal) presented the risk analysis scheme she uses when assessing BRD in feedlots. The plan of action deals with management, medical issues and people. Prof. Lorenzo Fraile (CreSA, Spain) presented the relevant pharmacokinetic (PK) data on which a practitioner should focus when prescribing antibiotics.

For example, the dose-dependant or time-dependant characteristics of an antibiotic are valid for a given antibiotic/pathogen combination. Also, he noted that the PK parameter closest to the “true life situation” is the concentration of the antibiotic in the pulmonary epithelial lung fluid (PELF).

New data on the PK/PD (pharmacodynamics) of ZACTRAN® were presented by Dr Ronald Tessman (Merial USA): a complete absorption within 30 minutes, extremely high concentration in the lung compartments above the MIC90 for the main BRD pathogens, and for a prolonged period of time (up to 15 days), as seen in the PELF.

Dr Chris Hodgson (Moredun Research Institute, Scotland, UK) presented new experimental results highlighting that the nasal colonisation of calves by Pasteurella occurs very early in life, and that there are elements pointing at differences of pathogenicity among P. multocida strains.

Dr Alex Bach (IRTA, Spain) gave convincing examples on the impact of calf management on the future productive life of replacement heifers: the calves left in individual hutches at weaning have a higher incidence of respiratory disease after entering the group than those that left the hutches at weaning. As the future milk production level was found to be correlated to the average daily gain (ADG) during the first 2 months, the number of BRD episodes is also of importance. Once management and vaccination are efficiently performed, the incidence of respiratory problems can be further reduced by antibiotic treatment.

In a study of over 300 calves, the number of respiratory cases per calf was significantly reduced (p<0.05) in the Zactran group, when compared to the control group.

In veal calf production, Dr Koen de Bleecker (DGZ, Belgium) described a study on BRD incidence and on the antibiotic treatment practices that showed the need for an improved communication on judicious use of antibiotics. Communication and training tools are now being proposed to practitioners in order to improve the farm management (cleaning and disinfection between batches) and the BRD treatment strategies (targeted long-acting treatments rather than in-feed antibiotic use).

Dr Carlo Rossi (university of Milan, Italy) outlined the economical constraints on beef cattle farming in Italy. “Production costs need to be controlled in every aspect: welfare, management and nutrition are to be improved first. All too often, a very good drug does not provide the expected result due to a management mistake”, he warned. On a farm where these aspects were controlled, the use of Zactran for the prevention of BRD provided a gain of 52 €/head (based on a selling price of 2.50 €/kg liveweight).

Dr Cédric Dezier (Merial France) also presented several field trials from France and Italy, which confirmed the efficacy of Zactran and allowed targeted metaphylactic strategies in a way that reduced the overall use of antibiotics at farm level. A trial, in which diseased Limousin steers were treated shortly after arrival at the Italian farm with either Zactran or tulathromycin, proved that the number of relapses after 15 days was significantly lower in the Zactran group.

Finally, Dr Dieter Schillinger (Head of European Public affairs, Merial) described the current sensitive context facing the veterinary bodies and industry regarding antibiotics.

Drs Sophie Randoux (Merial EMEA Marketing & Technical Director Production Animals) and Andrew Forbes (Technical Director Merial EMEA Ruminants) coordinated the discussion sessions, during which a number of practitioners shared their experience, two years after the first launch of Zactran in Europe.

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