Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Translational Animal Science, 2022, 6, 1–11


Open access.


Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the primary animal health concern facing feedlot producers. Many antimicrobial mitigation strategies are available, but few studies have compared feedlot performance during both the receiving and finishing periods following application of different antimicrobials used as metaphylaxis at arrival. The objective of this study was to compare antimicrobial metaphylaxis methods on clinical health and growth performance across both the receiving and finishing periods. A total of 238 multiple-sourced steers in two source blocks were used in a generalized complete block design. The four treatments included: 1) a negative control, 5 mL of sterile saline injected subcutaneously (CON); 2) subcutaneous administration of florfenicol at 40 mg/kg of BW (NUF); 3) subcutaneous administration of ceftiofur in the posterior aspect of the ear at 6.6 mg/kg of BW (EXC); and 4) subcutaneous administration of tulathromycin at 2.5 mg/kg of BW (DRA). The morbidity rate for the first treatment of BRD was decreased for the DRA and EXC treatments compared to CON and NUF (P < 0.01). Additionally, average daily gain (ADG), dry matter intake (DMI), and gain-to-feed (G:F) were greater (P ≤ 0.02) in the DRA treatment during the receiving period compared to all other treatments. The ADG was also greater (P < 0.05) for EXC than the CON treatment throughout the finishing period. Nonetheless, other growth performance variables did not differ among metaphylactic treatments during the finishing period (P ≥ 0.14). Likewise, no differences in carcass characteristics or liver abscess score were observed (P ≥ 0.18). All complete blood count (CBC) variables were affected by day (P ≤ 0.01) except mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (P = 0.29). Treatment × time interactions were observed for platelet count, white blood cell (WBC) count, monocyte count and percentage, and lymphocyte percentage (P ≤ 0.03). However, there were no observed hematological variables that differed among treatment (P ≥ 0.10). The results indicate that some commercially available antimicrobials labeled for metaphylactic use are more efficacious than others in decreasing morbidity rate.