Don't Let Bovine Respiratory Disease Go After Your Calves. Or Your Bottom Line.

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) can be frustrating for beef producers for a number of reasons. The multitude of factors that contribute to the disease can make it difficult to prevent or manage. And BRD can lead to significant economic losses:

  • It's the No.1 cause of mortality in weaned calves1
  • Most BRD deaths occur shortly after feedlot arrival or within 45 days2,3
  • It costs producers $900 million in losses each year from death, reduced feed efficiency and treatment costs4

Help protect your investment by working with your veterinarian on a BRD prevention protocol, and stay current on the most recent BRD information:

  • Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD)

    What is bovine respiratory disease (BRD)?

    • Any disease of the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts
    • Also known as shipping fever because it's often associated with transport

    Cattle affected

    • Most commonly occurs in weaned beef cattle as they move to the feedlot
    • Preweaned calves (enzootic calf pneumonia)

    Disease development

    • A multifactorial etiology that may include viruses, bacteria, host immunity, environmental stressors, nutrition and more
    • Typically, stress associated with transportation, commingling, weaning and other factors predisposes the animal to infection
    • The lining of the respiratory tract may be damaged by viruses such as:
      • Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), Types 1a, 1b and 2
      • Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) caused by bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1)
      • Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV)
      • Parainfluenza3 (Pl3) virus
    • Viral damage opens the door for bacteria to invade the lungs:
      • Mannheimia haemolytica
      • Pasteurella multocida
      • Histophilus somni
      • Mycoplasma bovis

    Clinical signs

    • Severity of signs can vary, depending on the organism(s) involved, but may include:
      • Labored breathing
      • Nasal discharge
      • Coughing
      • Reduced food and water intake
      • Fever, depression
      • Reluctance to move


    • Physical examination
    • Culture and antibiotic sensitivity, tissue analysis or advanced diagnostics


    • Identify and treat sick calves early for best outcomes
    • Work with your veterinarian to choose the right antibiotic
    • Monitor outcomes and refine protocols with your veterinarian


    • Precondition calves before marketing, including:
      • Vaccinating the dam to help her produce good-quality colostrum
      • Vaccinating calves to help build immunity
    • Metaphylaxis, or mass administration of antibiotics to at-risk calves, may help reduce the number of bacterial organisms present, but will have no effect on viruses

Beef Respiratory Products

Express® Presponse® Prism® 5 Pyramid®
Pyramid® + Presponse® SQ Triangle® Zactran® (gamithromycin)


ZACTRAN IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: For use in cattle only. Do not treat cattle within 35 days of slaughter. Because a discard time in milk has not been established, do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older, or in calves to be processed for veal. The effects of ZACTRAN on bovine reproductive performance, pregnancy and lactation have not been determined. Subcutaneous injection may cause a transient local tissue reaction in some cattle that may result in trim loss of edible tissues at slaughter. NOT FOR USE IN HUMANS. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

Videos on Respiratory Conditions in Cattle

Bovine Respiratory Disease - Managing BRD Risk in Your Herd

Dr. Richard Linhart, professional services veterinarian, Boehringer lngelheim, discusses ways to determine BRD risk in your beef herd and effective preventive management practices.

Bovine Respiratory Disease - Preventing BRD Outbreaks

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) can take an economic and emotional toll on beef producers. Dr. Richard Linhart, professional services veterinarian, Boehringer lngelheim, discusses the numerous impacts of BRD and tactics you can implement for successful prevention and treatment.

Beef Products

To help keep your cattle in top condition, you can rely on Boehringer lngelheim for a broad range of products, including:

To help keep your cattle in top condition, you can rely on Boehringer lngelheim for a broad range of products, including:

1USDA APHIS — Veterinary Services, NAHMS. Heifer calf health and management practices on U.S. dairy operations 2007.
Available at _ir_CalfHeallh.pdf. Accessed Sept. 17, 2019. 
2Edwards AJ. Respiratory diseases of feedlot cattle in the central USA. Bov Pract. 1996;30:5-7. 
3Lonoragan GH, Dargatz DA, Morley PS, Smith MA. Trends In mortality ratios among cattle In U.S. feedlots. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001;219(8):1122-1127. 
4Science Daily. Bovine respiratory disease: new research to tackle major concern for cattle industry 2010. Oklahoma State University. Available at: Accessed April 2019.