Brisket disease cropping up in Nebraska feedlot cattle | TSLN.com

Brisket disease cropping up in Nebraska feedlot cattle

Courtesy photo/Dr. Tom EdwardsBrisket disease is more commonly recognized in cattle in high altitude regions above 5,000 feet, in areas of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah.

During a year-end meeting of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) group in Scottsbluff, NE, cattle producers discussed how their pens of five cattle had performed in a feedlot test at Darnall Feedlot in Harrisburg, NE. Giving the wrap-up of how the cattle performed, one of the items Gary Darnall pointed out to the group were a couple of calves that had succumbed to brisket disease.

At 3,943 feet, the Nebraska Panhandle is hardly considered a high altitude region where producers need to be overly concerned about this disease. According to Dr. David Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) extension veterinarian, brisket disease is more commonly recognized in cattle in high altitude regions above 5,000 feet, in areas of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “However, we have received reports from feedlots in the high plains regions of Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming of an anecdotal increase in the percentage of cattle deaths with antemortem or postmortem signs of ventral or brisket edema,” Smith said during a presentation to the cattle producers at the IRM meeting.

The UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research Program has investigated deaths of feedlot calves in the state who showed symptoms of the disease to determine the cause of the ventral/brisket edema syndrome. They had several theories regarding the cause of the problem, one of which was brisket disease. After necropsies were performed on the fresh hearts of several calves who died in feedlots after showing symptoms of the disease, they were able to confirm all 18 calves actually died from brisket disease. During the study, they examined hearts, took measurements and studied tissue under a microscope.

“Brisket disease is caused by Cor pulmonale or right-sided heart failure caused by chronic pulmonary arterial hypertension due to generalized hypoxia,” Smith said. “The hypoxia-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension causes work overload of the right ventricle, which eventually results in congestive/dilatory cardiac failure.

“In generalized hypoxia, which can occur with high altitude or with certain lung diseases, precapillary constriction occurs throughout the lungs and there is a marked increase in pulmonary arterial pressure,” he continued. When the lungs develop hypertension, and the heart begins to fail to deliver blood throughout the body, fluid begins to leak from the blood vessels, which results in a swollen brisket and eventually death.

“Cattle in the panhandle get brisket disease because the altitude is high enough to put some cattle at risk (low enough oxygen pressure),” Smith further explained. “Cattle are not getting enough oxygen, so their lungs shut down. The affected cattle do not respond to treatment, and they will eventually die from right-sided heart failure if they are not harvested. However, the conditions should be reversible if it is recognized early and the cattle are moved to a lower altitude, although this has not been tested to my knowledge,” he added.

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Smith said he has seen documented cases of brisket edema in feedlot cattle in western Nebraska from as early as 1975. What concerns him is the percentage of cattle dying from the disease seems to be increasing. “The losses to this condition are meaningful,” Smith said. “Gary Darnall indicated that two percent of feedlot cattle might be affected. We are trying to learn how to mitigate the risk. This could include identifying genetic carriers of the disease or addressing the other risk factors for the condition. Learning how to detect the condition early would prevent some losses,” he said.

Referring to UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research, Smith said there are some risk factors that can predispose cattle to brisket disease:

• Young cattle are more susceptible than older cattle.

• Rapid growth increases susceptibility.

• Obese or highly conditioned cattle are more susceptible. Excess adipose tissue causes increased intra-abdominal pressure which, along with forestomach engorgement and recumbency can lead to hypoventilation and alveolar hypoxia.

• Lack of conditioning to altitude. Cattle moved from low to high altitudes increases incidence (0.5-5 percent vs. 10-40 percent).

• Concurrent pneumonia or heart disease: e.g., bronchopneumonia, interstitial pneumonia, endocarditis, etc.

• Cold environmental temperatures: temperatures less than 0°C have increased pulmonary arterial pressures (PAP) by 25-55 percent.

• Feeding ionophores: Preliminary data in one study found an association between ionophore feeding at recommended dosages and increased PAP.

Smith said the UNL is currently looking into genetic predisposition as another cause. He said some research has been done that concluded PAP is moderately heritable in spring-born Angus cattle acclimatized and tested at high altitude. As a result of that research, it is recommended cattle producers select breeding stock based on low PAP scores to avoid the problem. Not enough research has been done to determine the heritability of brisket disease in other breeds of cattle. However, there have been confirmed cases of brisket disease in other breeds of beef cattle, and also in dairy cattle.

Smith said UNL is currently investigating genetic relatedness of feedlot cases. “The UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research Program continues to research brisket disease,” Smith assured the group. “Now that we understand the cause of the disease, we are better positioned to learn how to mitigate associated losses; but we have more work to do before we have final recommendations.”

During a year-end meeting of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) group in Scottsbluff, NE, cattle producers discussed how their pens of five cattle had performed in a feedlot test at Darnall Feedlot in Harrisburg, NE. Giving the wrap-up of how the cattle performed, one of the items Gary Darnall pointed out to the group were a couple of calves that had succumbed to brisket disease.

At 3,943 feet, the Nebraska Panhandle is hardly considered a high altitude region where producers need to be overly concerned about this disease. According to Dr. David Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) extension veterinarian, brisket disease is more commonly recognized in cattle in high altitude regions above 5,000 feet, in areas of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “However, we have received reports from feedlots in the high plains regions of Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming of an anecdotal increase in the percentage of cattle deaths with antemortem or postmortem signs of ventral or brisket edema,” Smith said during a presentation to the cattle producers at the IRM meeting.

The UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research Program has investigated deaths of feedlot calves in the state who showed symptoms of the disease to determine the cause of the ventral/brisket edema syndrome. They had several theories regarding the cause of the problem, one of which was brisket disease. After necropsies were performed on the fresh hearts of several calves who died in feedlots after showing symptoms of the disease, they were able to confirm all 18 calves actually died from brisket disease. During the study, they examined hearts, took measurements and studied tissue under a microscope.

“Brisket disease is caused by Cor pulmonale or right-sided heart failure caused by chronic pulmonary arterial hypertension due to generalized hypoxia,” Smith said. “The hypoxia-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension causes work overload of the right ventricle, which eventually results in congestive/dilatory cardiac failure.

“In generalized hypoxia, which can occur with high altitude or with certain lung diseases, precapillary constriction occurs throughout the lungs and there is a marked increase in pulmonary arterial pressure,” he continued. When the lungs develop hypertension, and the heart begins to fail to deliver blood throughout the body, fluid begins to leak from the blood vessels, which results in a swollen brisket and eventually death.

“Cattle in the panhandle get brisket disease because the altitude is high enough to put some cattle at risk (low enough oxygen pressure),” Smith further explained. “Cattle are not getting enough oxygen, so their lungs shut down. The affected cattle do not respond to treatment, and they will eventually die from right-sided heart failure if they are not harvested. However, the conditions should be reversible if it is recognized early and the cattle are moved to a lower altitude, although this has not been tested to my knowledge,” he added.

Smith said he has seen documented cases of brisket edema in feedlot cattle in western Nebraska from as early as 1975. What concerns him is the percentage of cattle dying from the disease seems to be increasing. “The losses to this condition are meaningful,” Smith said. “Gary Darnall indicated that two percent of feedlot cattle might be affected. We are trying to learn how to mitigate the risk. This could include identifying genetic carriers of the disease or addressing the other risk factors for the condition. Learning how to detect the condition early would prevent some losses,” he said.

Referring to UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research, Smith said there are some risk factors that can predispose cattle to brisket disease:

• Young cattle are more susceptible than older cattle.

• Rapid growth increases susceptibility.

• Obese or highly conditioned cattle are more susceptible. Excess adipose tissue causes increased intra-abdominal pressure which, along with forestomach engorgement and recumbency can lead to hypoventilation and alveolar hypoxia.

• Lack of conditioning to altitude. Cattle moved from low to high altitudes increases incidence (0.5-5 percent vs. 10-40 percent).

• Concurrent pneumonia or heart disease: e.g., bronchopneumonia, interstitial pneumonia, endocarditis, etc.

• Cold environmental temperatures: temperatures less than 0°C have increased pulmonary arterial pressures (PAP) by 25-55 percent.

• Feeding ionophores: Preliminary data in one study found an association between ionophore feeding at recommended dosages and increased PAP.

Smith said the UNL is currently looking into genetic predisposition as another cause. He said some research has been done that concluded PAP is moderately heritable in spring-born Angus cattle acclimatized and tested at high altitude. As a result of that research, it is recommended cattle producers select breeding stock based on low PAP scores to avoid the problem. Not enough research has been done to determine the heritability of brisket disease in other breeds of cattle. However, there have been confirmed cases of brisket disease in other breeds of beef cattle, and also in dairy cattle.

Smith said UNL is currently investigating genetic relatedness of feedlot cases. “The UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research Program continues to research brisket disease,” Smith assured the group. “Now that we understand the cause of the disease, we are better positioned to learn how to mitigate associated losses; but we have more work to do before we have final recommendations.”

During a year-end meeting of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) group in Scottsbluff, NE, cattle producers discussed how their pens of five cattle had performed in a feedlot test at Darnall Feedlot in Harrisburg, NE. Giving the wrap-up of how the cattle performed, one of the items Gary Darnall pointed out to the group were a couple of calves that had succumbed to brisket disease.

At 3,943 feet, the Nebraska Panhandle is hardly considered a high altitude region where producers need to be overly concerned about this disease. According to Dr. David Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) extension veterinarian, brisket disease is more commonly recognized in cattle in high altitude regions above 5,000 feet, in areas of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “However, we have received reports from feedlots in the high plains regions of Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming of an anecdotal increase in the percentage of cattle deaths with antemortem or postmortem signs of ventral or brisket edema,” Smith said during a presentation to the cattle producers at the IRM meeting.

The UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research Program has investigated deaths of feedlot calves in the state who showed symptoms of the disease to determine the cause of the ventral/brisket edema syndrome. They had several theories regarding the cause of the problem, one of which was brisket disease. After necropsies were performed on the fresh hearts of several calves who died in feedlots after showing symptoms of the disease, they were able to confirm all 18 calves actually died from brisket disease. During the study, they examined hearts, took measurements and studied tissue under a microscope.

“Brisket disease is caused by Cor pulmonale or right-sided heart failure caused by chronic pulmonary arterial hypertension due to generalized hypoxia,” Smith said. “The hypoxia-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension causes work overload of the right ventricle, which eventually results in congestive/dilatory cardiac failure.

“In generalized hypoxia, which can occur with high altitude or with certain lung diseases, precapillary constriction occurs throughout the lungs and there is a marked increase in pulmonary arterial pressure,” he continued. When the lungs develop hypertension, and the heart begins to fail to deliver blood throughout the body, fluid begins to leak from the blood vessels, which results in a swollen brisket and eventually death.

“Cattle in the panhandle get brisket disease because the altitude is high enough to put some cattle at risk (low enough oxygen pressure),” Smith further explained. “Cattle are not getting enough oxygen, so their lungs shut down. The affected cattle do not respond to treatment, and they will eventually die from right-sided heart failure if they are not harvested. However, the conditions should be reversible if it is recognized early and the cattle are moved to a lower altitude, although this has not been tested to my knowledge,” he added.

Smith said he has seen documented cases of brisket edema in feedlot cattle in western Nebraska from as early as 1975. What concerns him is the percentage of cattle dying from the disease seems to be increasing. “The losses to this condition are meaningful,” Smith said. “Gary Darnall indicated that two percent of feedlot cattle might be affected. We are trying to learn how to mitigate the risk. This could include identifying genetic carriers of the disease or addressing the other risk factors for the condition. Learning how to detect the condition early would prevent some losses,” he said.

Referring to UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research, Smith said there are some risk factors that can predispose cattle to brisket disease:

• Young cattle are more susceptible than older cattle.

• Rapid growth increases susceptibility.

• Obese or highly conditioned cattle are more susceptible. Excess adipose tissue causes increased intra-abdominal pressure which, along with forestomach engorgement and recumbency can lead to hypoventilation and alveolar hypoxia.

• Lack of conditioning to altitude. Cattle moved from low to high altitudes increases incidence (0.5-5 percent vs. 10-40 percent).

• Concurrent pneumonia or heart disease: e.g., bronchopneumonia, interstitial pneumonia, endocarditis, etc.

• Cold environmental temperatures: temperatures less than 0°C have increased pulmonary arterial pressures (PAP) by 25-55 percent.

• Feeding ionophores: Preliminary data in one study found an association between ionophore feeding at recommended dosages and increased PAP.

Smith said the UNL is currently looking into genetic predisposition as another cause. He said some research has been done that concluded PAP is moderately heritable in spring-born Angus cattle acclimatized and tested at high altitude. As a result of that research, it is recommended cattle producers select breeding stock based on low PAP scores to avoid the problem. Not enough research has been done to determine the heritability of brisket disease in other breeds of cattle. However, there have been confirmed cases of brisket disease in other breeds of beef cattle, and also in dairy cattle.

Smith said UNL is currently investigating genetic relatedness of feedlot cases. “The UNL Veterinary Field Disease Research Program continues to research brisket disease,” Smith assured the group. “Now that we understand the cause of the disease, we are better positioned to learn how to mitigate associated losses; but we have more work to do before we have final recommendations.”

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