Monitoring and evaluating your anti-infective treatment can help you and your veterinarian implement and build success in your receiving program.
In part, that's because as the season and type of cattle vary, the challenge of bovine respiratory disease may increase.
"The most important measure of treatment response is how often cattle have to be re-treated for BRD," says Daniel Scruggs, a veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health veterinary operations. "Overall anti-infective usage is often dependent upon how often cattle respond successfully to the first treatment administered. The first treatment failure is the first step toward chronics."
From a management perspective, Scruggs says-longer lasting anti-infectives allow cattle to return to their home pen or to be turned back out to pasture and extends the time before re-treatment may be necessary, which can help reduce overall illness and anti-infective usage.
The effectiveness of the overall management practices and the anti-infective protocol can be measured by reviewing records producers and veterinarians already have in place for mortality, chronic cases and number of re-treats needed.
"Making treatment recommendations based on accurate treatment records increases the chance of making good selections and choosing antimicrobial treatments on the basis of well-run clinical studies helps improve that selection process," Scruggs says. "Records systems are indispensible in evaluating antimicrobial selection in terms of treatment response."
Scruggs spent decades working with veterinarians and producers to develop anti-infective treatment plans and he says successful programs always take management of the specific operation into account.
"Treatment response not only depends on what anti-infectives you choose for the first treatment, but also management factors such as cattle procurement, vaccination, nutrition, feed palatability, cattle comfort and how the cattle were handled before they arrived at your operation," he says.
"The whole thing has to fit together to reduce the factors that cause BRD so anti-infectives have a chance to work. The veterinarians who work with these operations every day will have the best information about what the expectations are and what the rational use is for each operation."
Considering the many disease challenges stocker cattle face, your veterinarian can offer the most specific recommendations to best support practices for your operation.
"When we treat cattle with an anti-infective, we want effectiveness, and we want to preserve effectiveness for those cattle we may have to treat later," Scruggs says.