“To me, it’s important to look at how the cattle are started,” says Daniel Scruggs, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health. “I think it can be obvious when you have an M. bovis problem when you’re three and four weeks into the cattle, and you have late pulls and nonresponse issues. The window between 14 and 21 days is a critical time period to identify when you have M. bovis problems.”

One of the most common infectious agents connected to clinical cases of BRD, M. bovis often leads to joint infections, ear infections, weight loss, pneumonia and fever. However, once clinical signs are apparent, it’s often too late to treat it effectively, Dr. Scruggs notes.

To help avoid the costly effects of M. bovis, Dr. Scruggs recommends using good animal husbandry to reduce overall stress on the animal and paying close attention to the type of cattle that are purchased. Treating cattle early with a proven antimicrobial labeled for M. bovis and other BRD-causing pathogens can help control the disease.

Dr. Scruggs cautions that bad weather and other factors can contribute to illness unrelated to M. bovis, but it’s often better to overreact than underreact due to the potentially costly — and deadly — results.


“The number one M. bovis-related loss is chronics, which are sold at a discount,” Dr. Scruggs notes. “The second biggest loss is mortalities, and those animals can take a lot of time and retreatment costs that are never recovered. Then, there are the animals that survive, but go on to be a much less efficient animal.”