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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Livestock Issues Research » Research » Research Project #433171

Research Project: Nutritional Intervention and Management Strategies to Reduce Stress and Improve Health and Well-being in Cattle and Swine

Location: Livestock Issues Research

2018 Annual Report


1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Determine management strategies to reduce the incidence and severity of bovine respiratory disease. • Sub-Objective 1.A. Utilize nutritional prophylactic supplements in dairy calves to mitigate the negative effects of bovine respiratory disease on cattle health and well-being. • Sub-Objective 1.B. Study the interactive effects of different management systems and vaccine administration protocols on respiratory disease development and severity in beef cattle. Objective 2: Identify nutritional strategies to mitigate the impacts of pathogen exposure on immunity and overall well-being. • Sub-Objective 2.A. Utilize prebiotic, probiotic and paraprobiotic supplements to mitigate pathogen colonization, migration, and translocation in pigs to promote overall health and well-being. • Sub-Objective 2.B. Utilize prebiotic, probiotic and paraprobiotic supplements to mitigate Salmonella pathogenesis and its negative impacts on overall well-being in dairy calves. Objective 3: Reduce the incidence and severity of liver abscesses in cattle. • Sub-Objective 3.A. Develop a reliable and repeatable experimental model to study liver abscesses in cattle. • Sub-Objective 3.B. Utilize prebiotic, probiotic and paraprobiotic supplements as a means to reduce the incidence and severity of liver abscesses in cattle.


1b. Approach (from AD-416):
As methods to improve productivity in livestock continue to make progress, efforts associated with improving health and well-being must also continue to be a main objective. In this Project Plan, the term “well-being” is being used as a catch-all term for the absence of sub-clinical disease, reduced indicators of stress and inflammation, and improved thriftiness of the animal. Issues barring the way of progress include understanding the pathogenesis of diseases and how stress influences pathogens/diseases, immunity, and overall well-being. Developing models to study stressors, pathogens/diseases, and viable managerial solutions for combating diseases is essential for improving livestock productivity and well-being. Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and liver abscesses in cattle and salmonellosis in dairy calves and swine cost producers over $5 billion annually. Objective 1 will address the use of nutritional prophylactic supplements and vaccination strategies to reduce the incidence and severity of BRD in cattle. Novel, non-antibiotic compounds have been developed that may improve productivity and well-being while alleviating the negative impacts of disease without the use of consumer scrutinized pharmaceuticals. Objective 2 will evaluate the potential benefit of non-antibiotic supplements to reduce pathogen colonization, migration, and translocation in pigs and dairy calves. In Objective 3, we will develop a reliable and repeatable “real world” experimental liver abscess model to evaluate intervention strategies to improve animal well-being, and reduce economic losses. Discovery and evaluation of non-antibiotic alternatives that reduce economic losses and the negative impacts of stressors and diseases on overall well-being in livestock will be beneficial for producers, consumers, and the production animals themselves.


3. Progress Report:
Over the first year of this project researchers in Lubbock, Texas, have conducted 5 studies that were planned to address rising concerns in the cattle and swine industries. For Sub-objective 1A, a beef cattle wellness supplement was provided to calves in order to determine its effectiveness at reducing negative effects associated with a controlled bovine respiratory disease (BRD) challenge using a dual viral-bacterial challenge model developed by scientists within the unit. Preliminary data from this study suggest that there was an improved response to the BRD challenge in calves receiving the supplement, resulting in a reduced febrile response and reduced neutrophil concentrations, and a quicker return to baseline for the pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon gamma; thus suggesting a quicker recovery. Data analysis continues for this research project. Progress was also made on Sub-Objective 1B, utilizing a new application of a well-known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce the severity of BRD. Calves were treated with an NSAID via topical application (in contrast to the typical intravenous route) at various time points relative to challenge using a dual viral-bacterial BRD model. Initial results from this study suggests that a topical application of the NSAID at the time of viral or bacterial challenge helped to reduce the febrile response to the BRD challenge, with minimal alterations in immune and metabolic parameters. Thus, the topical application of this NSAID is a new tool that producers can use to treat fever associated with BRD without negatively impacting other immune parameters. A preliminary trial that addressed Sub-Objective 2A was conducted with collaborators in Ames, Iowa evaluating the effects of stress on nutrient utilization in swine. Data from this project are currently being analyzed, and the results will provide vital information on future directions. Additionally, components of Sub-Objective 2B were addressed in a study conducted with Auburn University in which the influence of immunosuppression on Salmonella contamination in ground beef was assessed. Dexamethasone, a synthetic stress hormone, was used for four consecutive days to suppress the immune system, with Salmonella challenge occurring on the second day of dexamethasone treatment. Few differences were observed between the control and immunosuppressed calves, yet Salmonella was found in tissues outside of the gastrointestinal tract. Further, this resulted in Salmonella contamination in some of the ground beef from these calves. While data analysis continues on this project, additional follow-up is necessary.


4. Accomplishments
1. Attenuated immune response to Bovine Respiratory Disease by feeding a prebiotic/probiotic blend. Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) continues to be the most significant disease affecting beef cattle production, and results in over $900 million in losses annually. Additionally, even in the face of improved vaccines and other management tools, the incidence of BRD has not decreased. ARS scientists in Lubbock, Texas collaborated with an industry partner to determine whether feeding a prebiotic/probiotic blend would improve the immune response to a dual viral-bacterial BRD challenge. Our research found that supplementing calves with a prebiotic/probiotic blend may have helped calves recover more quickly from the BRD challenge, as supplemented calves had a reduced fever response to the challenge, and had decreased values of inflammatory immune markers. A quicker recovery from a disease challenge can lead to reduced production losses associated with illness and reduced treatment costs, both of which are the main contributors of losses associated with BRD infections. As consumers continue to advocate for the reduced use of pharmaceuticals in livestock production, feeding a prebiotic/probiotic blend may provide an acceptable alternative with health benefits for the over 11.5 million calves being fed each day in the United States.

2. Banamine transdermal reduces vaginal temperature when administered at time of Bovine Respiratory Disease challenge. The beef cattle industry continues to utilize significant resources to combat Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), with treatment costs estimated to exceed $30 per head. Over 55% of feedlots use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID to reduce the fever associated with BRD. Utilizing a dual-challenge BRD model, ARS scientists in Lubbock, Texas worked with an industry partner to determine if administering a topical NSAID (as opposed to oral or intravenous administration) would alter the immune response when administered at various time points prior to the challenge. Indeed, results from this study found that fever was reduced in calves when the topical NSAID was administered at the time of viral or bacterial challenge, but not 3 days prior to the challenge. Thus, this new product can be a useful tool for producers to apply treatment to calves suffering from BRD symptoms. Its simplistic method of application, compared to injectable or oral products, will most likely increase the appropriate use of this product, reduce stress on the animal associated with application, and reduce the potential for residue contamination. Therefore, it is anticipated that use of this new product will ultimately improve animal comfort and well-being.

3. Salmonella migration out of gastrointestinal tract can potentially contaminate ground meat products. Significant progress has been made over the past 20 years to reduce foodborne pathogens such as E. coli from entering the food chain through contaminated meat. However, Salmonella continues to be a problem in cattle, with no reduction in the number of incidences reported for meat contamination by Salmonella. Thus, scientists with ARS in Lubbock, Texas collaborated with Auburn University to determine the potential for Salmonella to move outside the digestive system into lymph nodes and joint fluid, and subsequently contaminate ground meat products. Dairy calves were challenged with Salmonella, and after 5 days various tissues and lymph nodes were collected from one half of the carcass, while the other half was refrigerated for 2 days and then ground. Researchers found that Salmonella indeed moved out of the digestive system into various musculoskeletal lymph nodes. Further, Salmonella was found in some of the ground beef samples. Because Salmonella is found inside these peripheral, yet internalized tissues, it is not eradicated by traditional methods such as topical washes and sprays used to reduce bacterial contamination such as E. coli on beef carcasses, and thus may pose a risk of contaminating various cuts of meat and ground meat products.


Review Publications
Sanchez, N.C., Carroll, J.A., Arthington, J.D., Lancaster, P.A. 2017. Exposure to lipopolysaccharide in utero alters the postnatal metabolic response in heifers. Journal of Animal Science. 95:5176-5183.
Buntyn, J.O., David, S., Sanchez, N.C., Sieren, S.E., Jones, S.J., Erickson, G.E., Carroll, J.A., Broadway, P.R., Schmidt, T.B. 2017. Serum blood metabolite response and evaluation of select organ weight, histology and cardiac morphology of beef heifers exposed to a dual corticotropin-releasing hormone and vasopressin challenge following supplementation of. Journal of Animal Science. 95:5327-5338.
Capik, S.F., White, B.J., Larson, R.L., Van Engen, N., Cernicchiaro, N., Engelken, T.J., Lakritz, J., Ballou, M.A., Hulbert, L.E., Vann, R., Caswell, J.L., Jacob, G., Carroll, J.A., Coetzee, J.F. 2017. The impact of oral meloxicam prior to transportation on inflammatory mediators and immune function of arriving feedlot cattle. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 78(12):1426-1436.
Sanchez, N.C., Carroll, J.A., Broadway, P.R., Bass, B.E., Frank, J.W. 2018. Modulation of the acute phase response following a lipopolysaccharide challenge in pigs supplemented with an all-natural saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product. Livestock Science. 208:1-4.
Sanchez, N.C., Carroll, J.A., Broadway, P.R., Bass, B.E., Frank, J.W. 2018. Supplementation of a Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product can attenuate the acute phase response following a lipopolysaccharide challenge in weaned pigs. Animal. 13:144-152.