Bayer released new data demonstrating significant reductions in overall mortality in feedlot cattle when a novel immunostimulant was included in bovine respiratory disease (BRD) protocols.
The data also showed a reduction in the need for re-treatment with antibiotics when the immunostimulant was administered on arrival and modified live viral (MLV) vaccination was delayed, according to an announcement.
BRD is a devastating complex infectious disease affecting the cattle industry, despite efforts to mitigate it with current tools and approaches. It is associated with an overall economic impact of about $1 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Adding to the challenges faced by veterinarians and producers is the growing need to use antibiotics more responsibly, and even reduce overall use, while ensuring animal health and well-being.
“The data clearly demonstrates the added value of an ancillary treatment to feedlot BRD metaphylaxis protocols. It is encouraging to see that adding an immunostimulant improves survivability, resulting in a 22% reduction in overall death loss,” said Dr. Del Miles, a consultant with Veterinary Research & Consulting Services LLC, and study investigator. “The data support the inclusion of the novel immunostimulant in BRD metaphylaxis protocols. The improvements in herd health and economic outcomes would make a significant and welcomed difference to beef cattle producers.”
Dr. Almut Hoffmann, head of farm animal products at Bayer Animal Health, added, “Bayer continually seeks to discover innovative ways to improve animal health. We are pleased to contribute to cattle veterinarians and producers’ ongoing efforts to safeguard their animals’ health and well-being, and at the same time, use antibiotics more judiciously."
The study included a total of 5,179 crossbred heifer calves at a commercial feedlot in southwest Kansas and examined how a novel immunostimulant may improve health and performance outcomes in cattle when added to current BRD protocols. It also looked at whether MLV vaccines administered in the arrival processing of medium- to high-risk cattle in a feed yard may be causing undue levels of stress and compromising the immune system. The primary BRD bacterial pathogen faced by such cattle in the early stages of their feeding period is Mannheimia haemolytica.
Bayer said the study found that the administration of the novel immunostimulant led to:
• Significant reductions in overall mortality (a combination of BRD and non-BRD mortality) at every measured time frame (28.4% at 60 days, 27.5% at 116 days and 24.5% at close-out), regardless of whether the MLV vaccine was administered on arrival or delayed 30 days.
• Significant reductions in BRD mortality (mortality attributed to BRD among cattle diagnosed and not diagnosed with BRD) at 60 days (28.4%) and 116 days (27.5%) compared to calves that did not receive the immunostimulant. The same trend was seen at close-out.
• Although not statistically significant, a trend in reducing the BRD case fatality rate (mortality associated with BRD among cattle diagnosed and treated for BRD) throughout the study.
• Delaying the MLV vaccine significantly reduced second BRD treatments at all three time frames, and significantly reduced BRD re-treatment risk at 116 days and close-out.
The announcement from Bayer pointed out that the immunostimulant used in the studies is based on technology developed by Juvaris BioTherapeutics and is patent protected. Animal health applications of the technology are being exclusively developed by Bayer Animal Health and are the subject of Bayer patent applications. A comprehensive research and development program is ongoing at Bayer to explore the potential of immunostimulants in animal health, across indications and species.