Etiology and risk factors for bovine respiratory disease in pre-weaned calves on California dairies and calf ranches

Deepak, Sharif S Aly, William J. Love, Patricia C Blanchard, Beate Crossley, Alison L. Van Eenennaam, Terry W. Lehenbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our study objective was to estimate the magnitude of association of BRD risk factors including failure of passive immunity transfer, sex, age, and the detection of suspected BRD etiological pathogens in pre-weaned dairy calves in California. A conditional logistic regression model and a mixed-effects logistic regression model were used to estimate the association of these potential risk factors with BRD from a matched and nested case-control studies, respectively. For each exposure covariate, the odds ratio (OR) is the ratio of odds of an exposure in a BRD calf (case) to that in a non-BRD calf (control). In the matched case-control study, an interaction term between failure of transfer of passive immunity and sex of calf showed that female calves were more negatively impacted by failure of transfer of passive immunity compared to male calves. The odds ratios comparing failure of transfer of passive immunity in BRD score positive calves versus controls for male calves was 1.34 (95 % CI: 0.87, 2.06) and was 2.47 (95 % CI: 1.54, 3.96) for female calves. The model odds ratios varied from 1.74 (95 % CI: 1.26, 2.42) for Mycoplasma spp. to 9.18 (95 % CI: 2.60, 32.40) for Histophilus somni, with Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida having an OR of 6.64 (95 % CI: 4.39, 10.03) and 6.53 (95 % CI: 4.44, 9.59), respectively. For bovine respiratory syncytial virus positive calves, the OR was 4.60 (95 % CI: 3.04, 6.97). Findings from the nested case-control study showed that based on thoracic ultrasonography findings consistent with BRD, the odds of a calf being 1 day older compared to a day younger were 1.01 (95 % CI: 1.00, 1.02) among BRD cases. For the bacterial and viral pathogens, the OR for Mycoplasma spp. and Pasteurella multocida were 1.85 (95 % CI: 1.24, 2.75) and 1.86 (95 % CI: 1.28, 2.71), respectively. The OR values for these pathogens were similar when both thoracic auscultation and ultrasound findings were used to detect cases of BRD. Based on positive scores for BRD using the California BRD scoring system, the OR for facility type, calf ranch versus dairy farm, was 3.17 (95 % CI: 1.43, 7.01), Mannheimia haemolytica was 3.50 (95 % CI: 2.00, 6.11), Pasteurella multocida was 1.78 (95 % CI: 1.21, 2.60), and bovine coronavirus was 2.61 (95 % CI: 1.85, 3.70). Results from both study designs showed the difference in relative contributions of age, sex, immune status, and pathogens in BRD occurrence between cases and controls in pre-weaned dairy calves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105506
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Bovine respiratory disease
  • BRD pathogen
  • Pre-weaned dairy calf

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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