Subscribe to the Angus Beef Bulletin

Subscribe to the
newly redesigned
Angus Beef Bulletin

by clicking the
image above.

Sign up!

Quick links:

Share the EXTRA

Connect with
our community:

Follow us on twitterJoin us on Twitter

Bookmark and Share

Cut Costs by Cutting BRD Re-treats

When it comes to bovine respiratory disease treatments, it’s usually either do it right or do it twice.

Pull. Re-treat. Pull. Re-treat. Does this sound like an all-too-familiar process treating bovine respiratory disease (BRD)?

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate pulls and repeat BRD treatments, with good management, a strong veterinary relationship and a more effective antibiotic to treat BRD when needed, you can help reduce some re-treats and the expenses that come with them.

Do it right or do it twice
Repeat BRD treatments can cause more than headaches for beef cattle producers; they can eat into your time.

If a veterinarian advises that you need to treat BRD with an antibiotic, make sure you factor in labor time to the overall cost of the antibiotic. Some antibiotics have been shown to be at least 50% more effective than other antibiotics at treating BRD the first time. Translating this to hours, you are essentially doubling the number of BRD re-treatments you’re going to have using a less-effective antibiotic treatment, which could mean nearly 1.5 hours per 10-hour day in re-treatment time. Do you have that much time in a day to spare?

Do it right or buy it twice
An estimated 16.2% of cattle are pulled for BRD at some point during the feeding period. On top of that, every repull is net money loss on your operation in labor time, more medication costs, loss of performance, carcass quality and more. This means costs for BRD re-treatments could be greater than your first-treatment cost when you factor in labor and antibiotic costs and production losses.

Let’s just look at the additional labor and antibiotic costs to administer these re-treatments. If you’re using a less-effective antibiotic with a higher re-treatment risk to help treat BRD, you could expect to:

You can see that additional BRD re-treats can add up quickly. Keep in mind that this isn’t even factoring in the loss of performance, carcass quality, deaths, chronics and more caused from prolonged BRD.

With the never-ending task list on any operation, spending less time pulling and re-treating cattle should be a welcome change. More effective antibiotics can help reduce re-pulls and net losses that less effective BRD treatments can create.

More advice, articles, videos and study summaries from veterinarians and producers are available at There, you also can estimate your operation’s BRD treatment costs using the new BRD Cost Calculator.

comment on this story

Editor’s Note: Douglas Hilbig is a senior veterinarian with Zoetis Technical Services.

Important safety information:DRAXXIN has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 18 days in cattle. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in animals known to be hypersensitive to the product. See full Prescribing Information.

With Micotil®, Zuprevo™ or Zactran® you can expect to re-treat almost twice as many cattle, at least 47%, compared with Draxxin for BRD treatment. (According to the meta-analysis, Micotil has a relative risk of re-treatment of 1.87,† Zuprevo is 1.95† and Zactran is 1.88† compared with 1.00† for Draxxin.) Value also assumes you have a 36% re-treatment rate.

According to a meta-analysis, Zuprevo has a relative risk of retreatment of 1.95† compared with 1.00† for Draxxin. Value also assumes a 35% retreatment rate, an average of $20 in medication costs and the average retail costs of Zuprevo and Draxxin.

With Micotil, Zuprevo or Zactran you can expect to retreat almost twice as many cattle compared with Draxxin for BRD treatment. (According to the meta-analysis, Micotil has a relative risk of retreatment of 1.87,† Zuprevo is 1.95† and Zactran is 1.88† compared with 1.00† for Draxxin.)

O’Connor AM, Yuan C, Cullen JN, Coetzee JK, da Silva N, Wang C. A mixed treatment meta-analysis of antibiotic treatment options for bovine respiratory disease — An update. Prev Vet Med. 2016;132:130-139.

U. S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Types and Costs of Respiratory Disease Treatments in U.S. Feedlots.
Published April 2013. Accessed March 29,2018.







Use this keyword search to find more articles like this one:

[Click here to go to the top of the page.]