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Feedlot health: receiving, respiratory disease and bloat

Quick facts

  • Ideally, all calves entering a feedlot should be low risk and preconditioned.

  • Getting newly arrived animals to eat and preventing diarrhea will improve their health.

  • Reducing stress and preconditioning calves can prevent respiratory diseases.

  • To prevent bloat replace highly fermentable grains with other sources, manage processing or use feed additives.



Respiratory disease

Respiratory disease causes great profit loss in the beef industry. It accounts for about 75 percent of all illness in feedlot cattle and 50 percent of feedlot deaths. These values reflect only the cattle caught sick.

Wittem et al’s 1996 feedlot study showed 38 percent of calves were pulled and treated for bovine respiratory disease (BRD). But at processing, 72 percent of the cattle studied had lung wounds in line with pneumonia. Thus, about 68 percent of untreated cattle went through a bout of respiratory disease unnoticed.




Bethany Fennel, former DVM University of Minnesota and Nicholas DiLorenzo, former graduate student, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Sciences

Reviewed in 2018

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