Animals with respiratory signs

Why is it measured?

Respiratory disease is common in housed, young beef animals in particular. Respiratory disease ranges in severity from unpleasant to life-threatening. Early identification of a problem is important in managing it, especially as when 30% of a group of animals show signs a further 40% exhibit lung damage at slaughter. Respiratory disease can result in poor weight gain and reduced fertility leading to economic losses in addition to treatment costs. Poor housing ventilation and drainage increase the risk of respiratory disease.
Pneumonia is a common problem of young housed beef animals in particular. It is often caused by viruses that damage the lungs allowing colonisation by bacteria. Successful treatment of Mycoplasma species is threatened by antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Monitoring pneumonia treatments provides proxy information about the welfare of the cattle as well as AMR risk (providing the causative agent had been determined prior to treatment).

How to assess and score using the AssureWel measure

 5a. Animals with respiratory signs                                                                                                                             Herd Measure
Assess the whole herd and tally the number of animals with nasal and/or ocular discharge that are also seen/heard coughing or to be in respiratory distress (e.g. laboured breathing).

Record which group.
 5b. Pneumonia treatments                                                                                                                                                       Records
 Record the number of recorded treatments for Pneumonia in the previous 12 months (refer to the Red Tractor Annual Health and Performance Review sheet if available).

  1. Lameness
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Body Condition Score (adult cattle only)
  4. Hairloss, lesions and swellings
  5. Animals with respiratory signs
  6. Cattle needing further care
  7. Disbudding, dehorning and castration
  8. Mortality



Making improvements

  • Links to resources all aimed at improving the welfare of beef cattle
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