One area where the feedlot industry has been historically weak is the area of BRD “case definition” or diagnosis. Numerous studies demonstrate a weak correlation between lung lesions at harvest and treatment history. This poor track record is due in part to lack of specific chute side diagnostic tools. To analyze the effectiveness of current diagnostic tools (temperature, manual lung scores, and Whisper® lung scores), two data sets were collected. The first evaluated the correlation between rectal temperature, manual lung scores, and case fatality rate in feedlot cattle pulled for BRD. The second evaluated the relative accuracy of Whisper® scores and rectal temperature. Fever was defined as a rectal temperature of 104.5° F or greater. Manual lung scores better correlated with case fatality rate than fever. When fever and Whisper® scores were compared, a Whisper® score of 1 or less better predicted survival than a temperature of less than 104.5° F. The combination of no fever and Whisper® score of 1 or less best predicted survival. The determination of Whisper® score along with rectal temperature in cattle identified with signs of acute BRD can improve case definition, improve risk assessment, and allow more targeted use of antibiotics.
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