A novel risk assessment tool for bovine respiratory disease in preweaned dairy calves

G. U. Maier, W. J. Love, B. M. Karle, S. A. Dubrovsky, D. R. Williams, J. D. Champagne, R. J. Anderson, J. D. Rowe, T. W. Lehenbauer, A. L. Van Eenennaam, S. S. Aly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Due to the increased morbidity and mortality of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in dairy calves, as well as an increasing urgency for the judicious use of antimicrobials in farm animals, a comprehensive risk assessment tool for BRD in preweaned dairy calves has been designed based on a longitudinal and a cross-sectional study. As a multifactorial disease complex in which immune function stressors increase susceptibility to respiratory pathology, risk management programs for environmental and husbandry practices may be an effective approach for BRD control. Practices of known or suspected effect on BRD in preweaned calves have been explored in 2 large studies correlating management factors to BRD prevalence (BRD 100 study) and incidence (BRD 10K study) and forming the scores presented here. Priority was given to results from multivariable over univariable model estimates. However, when used, univariable model estimates were adjusted for confounders or stratified by effect modifiers if necessary. Regression coefficients were translated into scores, which are presented in a field-ready tool consisting of (1) a risk assessment questionnaire, which identifies the herd-specific risk factors and the risk scores associated with each; (2) the California BRD scoring system to estimate the BRD prevalence at the time of risk assessment for future comparison with the prevalence after interventions; and (3) the BRD control and prevention herd management plan, which can be used to plan and track the interventions identified. Scores for 100 dairies across California were used to benchmark a dairy's risk on a spectrum. With the help of the risk assessment tool, dairy producers, calf managers, and veterinarians may be able to adjust management factors that affect BRD risk on a farm and objectively monitor BRD prevalence before and after management interventions. As a result, the BRD risk assessment tool described here is the first comprehensive effort for herd-specific BRD control and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9301-9317
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • bovine respiratory disease
  • dairy calf
  • risk assessment
  • risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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