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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is an economic challenge to dairy producers. It continues to be the major cause of death in weaned calves and can lead to poor performance later in a cow’s life.1
Dr. Mark van der List, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), suggests implementing the following management practices on your operation to help reduce the impact of BRD in your herd:
Reduce cow stress
BRD often presents itself in times of stress: weaning, feed variations, high humidity, calving and season changes. During these periods, it’s important to reduce stress factors and keep a close watch on your herd. Stress can also lead to immunosuppression — especially around calving. A focus on cow comfort and other management practices, including avoiding overcrowding, using low-stress handling techniques, and good calving management can help reduce stress and improve transition cow health.
Ensure proper housing
One of the biggest risk factors for BRD is poor ventilation. Make sure cows are in an area where there is fresh air flow, with clean, dry bedding to improve cow comfort.
Monitor herd closely
Recognize the signs of sickness, especially after calving. Fever, increased respiratory rate, discolored nasal discharge and coughing are all symptoms of BRD. Work with your veterinarian to properly treat a cow with pneumonia.
Implement a sound vaccination program
Vaccination against BRD is crucial to prevention. Take the time to vaccinate cows in the dry period to help boost not only the cow’s immunity, but also to boost immunoglobulins in colostrum and start the calf off on the right foot. Dr. van der List recommends working with your local veterinarian to develop a vaccination program to prevent BRD in your herd.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
In January 2017, Merial became part of the Boehringer Ingelheim group. As the second largest animal health business in the world, Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to making the industry even better at improving animal health. With more than 10,000 employees worldwide, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has products available in more than 150 markets and a global presence in 99 countries. For more information about Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, click here.
1 Gorden PJ., Plummer P. Control, management, and prevention of bovine respiratory disease in dairy calves and cows. Vet Clin North Am Anim Food Pract. 2010;26(2):243-259.