“Multiple factors must be considered when implementing an in-feed bovine respiratory disease (BRD) control program with Pulmotil® (tilmicosin),” says Marilyn Corbin, DVM, PhD and Elanco technical consultant. “As with all BRD programs, the veterinarian and client must first make the decision to treat an entire group of cattle versus using an individual animal pull-and-treat program. The considerations for this decision should include risk factors for groups of cattle where a BRD outbreak might occur and actual observation of those groups for indications of BRD.”

What is unique about Pulmotil as a BRD treatment?

Veterinarians and their clients have a new BRD management option that goes beyond the chute — Pulmotil. An innovative BRD treatment for groups of cattle in the early stages of an outbreak, Pulmotil provides 14 days of sustained in-feed therapy, a practice that reduces stress associated with cattle handling. Ideal for cattle not requiring a metaphylaxis treatment on arrival and/or when labor resources are limited, feeding Pulmotil means fewer pulls and less individual animal management. It can also help reduce the risk of a BRD outbreak once cattle are on-feed, while reducing the impact of subclinical BRD and associated economic losses.

What factors should be considered when developing a BRD protocol that includes Pulmotil?

Labor resources to treat a BRD outbreak are one factor to consider when a BRD control protocol is being developed. Animal health crews can be overwhelmed when treating cattle in the face of BRD outbreaks. This problem may be magnified during high placement periods with cattle of varying health risk levels. The ability of pen riders to adequately check for sick cattle can be compromised when the workload is high. Stress from pulling and treating cattle should also be considered. Incorporating Pulmotil as an in-feed management practice can reduce the stress associated with animal handling. 

What type of cattle are good candidates for Pulmotil?

Cattle at risk but not yet showing signs of active BRD may be potential candidates for Pulmotil in-feed therapy. If 10 percent or more of a group is diagnosed with active BRD, the group has met the label requirement for Pulmotil treatment. Once Pulmotil is determined to be the best therapeutic option, treatment should begin immediately. Incorporating Pulmotil as a new therapeutic approach to control BRD will require advanced planning and preparation.

What does research show about the efficacy of Pulmotil?1

Four studies were conducted to collect data for the FDA registration approval of Pulmotil and to demonstrate the efficacy of Pulmotil for the control of BRD. The number of calves classified as healthy at the end of the 28-day studies was greater in Pulmotil-fed calves, 67.3 percent vs. 49.2 percent (P = 0.03) in the control. Pulls due to BRD were reduced by 35.6 percent (50.8 percent [controls] vs. 32.7 percent [Pulmotil]; P = 0.03). There was no difference in feed intake observed. These studies affirm the efficacy of Pulmotil for BRD control in cattle. Read the technical report.

How does the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) process work?

Use of Pulmotil requires a VFD from a licensed veterinarian who has a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) and direct involvement with the cattle that will be treated, and is licensed in the state where the cattle will be located during their Pulmotil treatment. The VFD is issued by the veterinarian to the client and their feed supplier and can be issued in advance of cattle actually arriving.

The FDA regulations require a copy of the completed VFD be sent to the Pulmotil supplier specified by the client. This is the only Pulmotil supplier who can provide the product for the VFD that has been issued. The total number of cattle and total amount of Pulmotil medicated complete feed that can be administered is included on the VFD. Coordination between the client, veterinarian, feed advisor and feed supplier is essential in completing a VFD. Click here for a helpful quick-guide checklist.

What are the requirements for Pulmotil use?

To help ensure human food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established requirements for the use of Pulmotil to control BRD. Working with your clients to integrate Pulmotil into their BRD management program can help streamline the implementation process.

  • Veterinarians and their clients should develop a Pulmotil protocol and prepare a VFD.  This will ensure a timely administration of Pulmotil once a 10 percent BRD diagnosis threshold has been reached in a group of cattle
  • Initiate the 14-day Pulmotil treatment within the first 45 days of the production period and only in groups of cattle that have not received an injectable macrolide antibiotic
    • Injectable macrolide antibiotics can be used after the Pulmotil treatment has ended
  • Pulmotil treatment can begin no sooner than three days following the administration of a non-macrolide injectable BRD therapy
    • If the treatment must be initiated sooner, exclude calves treated with the injectable therapy from the group receiving Pulmotil

The label contains complete use information, including cautions and warnings. Always read, understand and follow the label and use directions.

Feeds containing tilmicosin must be withdrawn 28 days prior to slaughter.

CAUTION: Federal law limits this drug to use under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Animal feed bearing or containing this veterinary feed directive drug shall be fed to animals only by or upon a lawful veterinary feed directive issued by a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian’s professional practice.

For the control of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) in groups of beef and non-lactating dairy cattle, where active BRD has been diagnosed in at least 10 percent of the animals in the group: Feed continuously for a single, 14-day period at 568 to 757 g/ton of tilmicosin (100 percent DM basis) in a Type C medicated feed as the sole ration to provide 12.5 mg/kg of body weight/hd/d.

1Pulmotil 90 Freedom of Information Summary (NADA 141-064).

Pulmotil® is a trademark for Elanco’s brand of tilmicosin.
Elanco, Pulmotil® and the diagonal bar are trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates.