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Research Study Highlights Need for Diagnostic Tools to Guide Antimicrobial Treatment in High-Risk Cattle

Study evaluated costs and benefits of metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment on arrival

MORRISVILLE, NC – August, 12, 2019 – A recent research study conducted by Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) found that metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment was economically beneficial for some pens of high-risk cattle but not for others. The study concluded that diagnostic tools to selectively target only the cattle that would benefit antimicrobial treatment, such as AAD’s QScout BLD, should be further researched. The study was presented as a research poster this week at the Bovine Respiratory Disease Symposium (BRDS) 2019 which was held in conjunction with the Academy of Veterinary Consultants Summer 2019 Meeting in Denver, Colorado. 

On backgrounder, stocker, and feedlot cattle operations, metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment on arrival has been shown to decrease the incidence of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), an illness that is responsible for $4 billion in losses in the U.S. cattle industry annually. However, the emphasis of the World Health Organization has been to lessen unnecessary antimicrobial use in human and animal medicine in an effort to reduce the potential of antimicrobial resistance developing. Identifying tools and strategies for targeted antimicrobial treatment of cattle in need could help to reduce financial losses, improve animal health, and protect access to antimicrobials for livestock producers.

“It’s essential that livestock producers have access to antimicrobials to treat sick animals and ensure animal welfare. We know that not all cattle receiving metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment are sick or at risk for becoming sick. That’s why it so important to work towards developing tools that cattle feeders can use to determine if an individual animal would benefit from treatment,” said Dr. Mitch Hockett, AAD Vice President of External Research and Technical Marketing, who co-authored the study along with AAD’s Felipe Guirado Dantas and Danielle Stewart Noel.

The study was composed of 1,647 head (divided into 19 pens on two farms) of stockyard sourced, Southeast beef bulls, steers, and heifers with an average body weight of 375 pounds. Cattle were randomly assigned one of two groups: a group that received metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment on arrival and a group that didn’t. 

The study found that cattle that didn’t receive metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment on arrival had higher rates of sickness and death, increasing the health cost of production $36.16 per head compared to those that did receive metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment.

However, in 5 of 19 pens, the total cost per head of cattle that didn’t receive metaphylactic antimicrobial treatment was lower than the total cost per head of those that did, highlighting an opportunity to utilize technologies such as QScout BLD that help livestock producers target antimicrobial therapy to only the animals that need it.

About Advanced Animal Diagnostics
Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), Morrisville, N.C., provides livestock producers with diagnostics that improve profitability and empower more precise care of animals so they live healthier, more productive lives. AAD is committed to researching, developing and commercializing the industry’s most reliable, on-farm diagnostic tests, such as QScout BLD test to determine need for antibiotic intervention and predict outcomes of fed cattle tested on arrival and QScout MLD test for early detection of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. With its diagnostic offerings, the company aims to empower real-time management decisions that increase productivity, prevent losses, improve animal welfare and protect the food supply. For more information, visit or call 1-855 Q2COUNT.

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