Disease Processes in Farm Animals


The Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) complex is considered to be one of the most significant causes of economic loss in intensively reared cattle worldwide. The associated losses accruing from the elevated mortality and poor growth performance of infected animals together with the need for costly therapeutic interventions have a significant negative impact on farm incomes. 


Figures from the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) have stated that the annual cost of respiratory diseases in the UK is £60 million with costs animal ranging from £30 per infected animal for mild cases up to full animal cost if fatal.  It is accepted that whilst BRD may not be eliminated, proper management and animal health practices can minimise disease severity. Vaccination of animals against infections involved in the pathogenesis of BRD is currently employed as an approach to manage this disease but has not significantly reduced the overall prevalence or severity of the disease. With increasing pressure from regulatory authorities to move away from the use of anti-infectives towards alternative preventative strategies, it is clear that vaccination will continue to be an increasingly essential tool in the management of not only BRD but other agricultural diseases too.  ASSET research is applying proteomic / metabolomic tools to investigate the potential of this technological approach to diagnose and control strategies of bovine respiratory virus (BPIV-3) infections and apply this knowledge in the wider context of bovine pathogens involved in the BRD complex. This work is performed in collaboration with Dr Michael Welsh from the Virology Branch of the Veterinary Services Division of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).