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Interpretive Summary: Short communication: Analysis of the nasal microbiota in newly received feedlot heifers according to subsequent incidence of bovine respiratory disease

By: Autumn T Pickett, Reinaldo F Cooke, Rodrigo Bicalho, Vinicius N Gouvea

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the most common disease in feedlot cattle and costs the US cattle industry more than $2 billion annually. Such economical losses include mortality, wasted feed resources, pharmaceutical inputs, and decreased performance of morbid cattle. Hence, research to understand the etiology of BRD is critical to lessen the incidence and productive impacts of this disease in feedlot systems. The upper respiratory tract is home to a plethora of bacteria associated with BRD in cattle, whereas the composition and stress-related imbalances in this microbiota can lead to the disease. Based on this rationale, this experiment evaluated the microbiota composition in the nasal cavity of newly receiving feedlot heifers and contrasted with subsequent prevalence of BRD. In general, heifers that develop BRD had altered nasal microbiota at the time of feedlot arrival compared with heifers that remained healthy. Such differences in microbiota were heightened in heifers that developed BRD shortly after arrival, or heifers that required multiple antimicrobial treatments upon disease occurrence.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.