Date of this Version
24th Range Beef Symposium, Nov. 17-19, 2015, Loveland, Colo.
Right-heart failure (RHF) due to pulmonary hypertension, more commonly known as brisket disease or high altitude disease, is a complex disease that is becomingly increasing problematic for the cattle industry–regardless of altitude. The disease became known as high altitude disease because until the mid-1960s RHF was only reported at altitudes over 7,000 ft. Today, RHF is still problematic in high altitude cow-calf operations and is occurring with increasing incidence in feedlot cattle. The clinical signs are commonly mistaken for chronic pneumonia, which complicates disease diagnosis and reporting. Moreover, cattle treated for pneumonia have 2 to 3 times greater risk of developing RHF than cattle not treated. An ongoing investigation of beef cattle mortality on a feedlot at 3,000 ft. in the Texas Panhandle indicates that respiratory disease and RHF are intimately linked. Cattle with evidence of pneumonia may have actually died from RHF; however, close examination of the heart is required for an accurate diagnosis.