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Control Mycoplasma bovis with proper management

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Being well prepared is the cornerstone of any operation that handles high-risk cattle. Producers that have seen Mycoplasma bovis hit their calves know this firsthand.

"It is extremely important for producers to understand that an early M. bovis diagnosis cannot be made on clinical signs and behavior alone," says Lee Bob Harper, DVM, Pfizer Animal Health Cattle and Equine Technical Services. "Prior to the arrival of cattle, producers need to address M. bovis by utilizing BRD management protocols to avoid getting behind the eight ball."

Preparation can help reduce the potentially costly effects of M. bovis, which is a common infectious agent connected to clinical cases of bovine respiratory disease. BRD is estimated to cost the beef industry nearly $1 billion in economic losses from death, reduced feed efficiency and increased treatment costs.These losses make it worthwhile for producers to be prepared for M. bovis and help keep herds healthy.

There is no way to predict whether a specific set of cattle will be impacted by M. bovis, but factors affecting prevalence and risk can include: degree of commingling, cattle origin, animal weight, season and weather conditions, Harper notes.

Harper notes that using an antimicrobial for control is one factor to help avoid the potential losses associated with M. bovis. Proper stocking density, environment cleanliness, minimizing stress and preventing calves that don't respond to treatment from infecting healthy animals all contribute to effective control.

"Using a product that acts for a longer period of time allows producers to give the product and leave them in their home pen--minimizing stress, maximizing labor efficiencies and allowing calves to get the most out of the antimicrobial," Harper says. "Your veterinarian can help evaluate the risk level of incoming cattle and design a program that maximizes cattle health--and ultimately that can help increase profit margins."

Date: 9/3/2012



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