Treatment Optimization Pillar
Health Impacts of Optimized Pre-conditioning in Beef Cattle
Project Key Words: Antimicrobial Use, Beef Cattle, Pre-conditioning
Principal Investigator: Karin Orsel, DVM, PhD
Co-Investigator(s): Ed Pajor, PhD; Frank van der Meer, DVM, PhD; Sean Thompson, MSc, PAg, Henry An, PhD
Collaborator: Kathy Larson, M.Sc.; Trevor Alexander, PhD
Trainees: Morgan Louden, Abby Lodder
Project Theme: Education and Societal Impact
The focus of this project is to evaluate the impact of pre-conditioning on performance, health, and welfare of calves in the feedlot. We aim to add to the body of evidence regarding the costs and benefits of pre-conditioning as it relates to disease prevention and reduced antimicrobial use.
Why is This Important?
Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is a common disorder, and it requires the use of antimicrobials. Evidence in support of BRD risk reduction can promote pre-conditioning which is currently not a well-adopted practice.
We will be able to collect data on the morbidity, mortality , and performance of pre-conditioned calves when co-mingled with conventionally raised calves. We will gain an understanding of microbiome development under different circumstances.
1. What is the impact of optimized pre-conditioning on calf health outcomes in conventional feedlot environments?
2. Does the economic benefits from pre-conditioning erode when commingling occurs?
3. What is the impact of pre-conditioning on microbiome development?
Pre-conditioned calves (optimized vaccination, timing of interventions, and weaning strategy), will be placed in feedlot pens in different ratios with conventionally raised calves.
Data will be collected on:
1. Morbidity and mortality
2. Respiratory microbiome
3. Economic parameters, such as cost-benefit
Leveraged Sources of Support
- Anderson-Chisholm chair for animal care and welfare
- Simpson chair for beef cattle health and wellness
- NSERC grant Olds College
- UofC Vet Med in kind
- Olds College in kind
Knowledge & Technology Exchange and Exploitation
- Change in beef practices
- Increased animal welfare
- Alternatives to antimicrobial use
Highly Qualified Personnel
- 2 PhD Students
- 1 Masters Student
- Many undergraduate students that will gain research experience