Most in the beef industry know there is no "typical" case of bovine respiratory disease (BRD). And with the number of variables that can impact cattle health - weather, stress and genetics among them - it's very important for producers to work with their veterinarian to develop a BRD management program that can help bring consistency to their operation.
"Any feedyard or rancher needs to have a complete BRD management program," said Craig Iwanski, DVM, co-owner of Central Veterinary Services, Stockton, Kan. "It has to be nutrition, it has to be genetics, it has to be environment and it has to be the health programs. One thing cannot work without the other."
Dr. Iwanski consults with many beef producers across Kansas, and his clients' BRD protocols vary depending on each operation's unique situation.
"We try to look at the whole system," Dr. Iwanski said. "Certain situations always come up, so you have to be prepared. There are a lot of things that can affect the overall outcome."
And down in the heart of stocker-cattle country near Wanette, Okla., Brock and Shelia Karges purchase nearly 100% high-risk sale barn calves for their Triple Heart Ranch. They work with their local veterinarian and the Zoetis technical-services team to develop a whole-systems approach that minimizes BRD outbreaks.
"There are many (BRD) tools, but it's all about picking the tool that fits your operation," Brock Karges said. "Calves come in from different places, feed, employees, climates - all things that will impact your operation."
Shelia Karges added, "The greatest vaccine in the world and the greatest antimicrobial won't help if you don't have the right plan and nutrition."
Their BRD management program - which includes DRAXXINR (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution administered to high-risk cattle on arrival for extended BRD therapy - helps reduce time spent pulling and treating sick cattle.
"It's definitely a labor saver because in those first 10 days (on the ranch), the calves just need feed and water and rest," Brock Karges explained.
And it's changed how the Karges family spends their time on and off the ranch.
"How do you quantify having peace of mind to take a vacation for a week or leave work early to go watch a basketball game?" Shelia Karges said. "You can't quantify that."
Watch how the Karges family manages BRD on their operation and how Dr. Iwanski works with his clients to develop BRD management programs in the following two videos: