The effect of bovine viral diarrhea virus infections on health and performance of feedlot cattle


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infections (unapparent acute infections and persistent infections) on the overall health and performance of feedlot cattle. Calves from 25 pens (7132 calves) were enrolled in the study. Overall and infectious disease mortality rates were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in pens categorized at arrival as positive for type I BVDV and lower in pens that were positive for type II BVDV than in negative pens. Mortality attributed to BVDV infection or enteritis was significantly more common (P < 0.05) in the pens containing persistently infected (PI) calves than in pens not containing PI calves (non-PI pens). There were no statistically detectable (P ≥ 0.05) differences in morbidity, overall mortality, average daily gain, or the dry matter intake to gain ratio between PI and non-PI pens. Although type-I BVDV infections in feedlots appear to contribute to higher mortality rates, the presence of PI calves alone does not appear to have a strong impact on pen-level animal health and feedlot performance.

Booker CW, Abutarbush SM, Morley PS, Guichon PT, Wildman BK, Jim GK, Schunicht OC, Pittman TJ, Perrett T, Ellis JA, Appleyard G, and Haines DM. Can Vet J. 2008 March; 49(3): 253–260.