Advance in treatment of bovine respiratory disease - Veterinary Practice
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Advance in treatment of bovine respiratory disease

THE treatment of bovine respiratory
disease (BRD) with a combination
preparation consisting of the anti-
infective drug florfenicol and the anti-
inflammatory drug flunixin meglumine
results in control of bacterial growth,
reduction of fever and reduction of
lung consolidation.

This conclusion was drawn recently
at a symposium supported by
Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal
Health at the European Buiatrics
Forum in Marseille, where details of
the company’s new Resflor Solution for
Injection were given.

High temperature ignored

If a high body temperature is routinely
treated in human medicine as well as in
companion animal medicine, why is it
that fever up to 41°C (106°F) in calves
suffering from BRD is easily ignored?

This question was posed by Dr
Allan Weingarten, director of
pharmaceutical research for
Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal
Health, while speaking at the “Getting
it right the first time: best practices in
BRD treatment” symposium.

Dr Weingarten noted that BRD is
universally treated with antibiotics, but
it could be hours before treated animals show a lower temperature or other
clinical signs of recovery.

“Besides raising animal welfare
concerns, ignoring the febrile response
is detrimental to good husbandry,” he
added. BRD is often associated with
recently weaned and transported cattle
trying to cope with the stress of a new
environment.

“The ability to cope is difficult at
the best of times, but it is severely
impeded by the debilitation caused by
fever,” Dr Weingarten said, adding that
co-administering non-steroidal anti-
inflammatory drugs rapidly curtails the
febrile response. It also buys time for
the antibiotic to control the infection
that started the fever in the first place.

Dr Weingarten then reviewed data
showing the fever-reducing activity of
flunixin and florfenicol, the two active
ingredients found in Resflor.

“It is important to note that Resflor
has dual pharmacology and that both
ingredients contribute to the product’s
antipyretic and anti-inflammatory
efficacy,” he said.

He also noted that “an increasingly
more sophisticated consumer is
interested not only in the cost efficiency
of animal protein products, but also in
how the animal is treated under our

care. Ignoring the discomfort of a calf
with a febrile response is being re-
evaluated by the veterinary community.”

Detection and treatment

Following Dr Weingarten’s
presentation, Dr Edouard Timsit, a
French cattle veterinarian, reported on
work conducted with two colleagues,
Nathalie Bareille and Sébastien Assié, at
the Veterinary School of Nantes in
France, that focused on detecting and
treating respiratory disorders in young
bulls at fattening units in western
France.

For this work the researchers used a
bolus, measuring the intra-ruminal
temperature. The results showed that
the detection of BRD by farmers was
usually late and incomplete.

“On average, farmers detected the
disease more than 47 hours after the
onset of hyperthermia,” Dr Timsit said.
“Moreover, they detected less than 31%
of unhealthy animals compared with
the clinical examination by a
veterinarian, accompanied by the
measurement of serum inflammation
marker haptoglobin.”

He also noted that while
metaphylactic treatment of all the
animals could be indicated, “it is important to further confirm the
clinical and economic benefits of such
approach”.

Dr Timsit reported that clinical
development of BRD varied in
untreated animals having contact with
treated animals. In some groups,
untreated animals became sick, an event
that probably could have been avoided
with metaphylaxis; but in other groups
the absence of new clinical cases raised
questions about this preventive
approach.

Predicting secondary cases

“It is important, therefore, to be able to
first predict the number of secondary
cases to be expected,” Dr Timsit said.
“As yet, there are no criteria allowing
such a prediction to be made.”

Despite the late detection and
treatment of respiratory disease in
many animals in the study, using Resflor
yielded a therapeutic success of 91.9%
four days post-treatment, Dr Timsit
reported.

It also “brought about a rapid
decrease in body temperature (less than
four hours) and serum haptoglobin
levels (less than 0.25 g/l during the six
days post-treatment) in the treated
animals”.

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