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The Development and Assessment of a Lung Biopsy Technique for Early BRD Detection



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The objectives of this project were: 1) to determine if live animal lung biopsy could be used to characterize early pathologic changes in the bovine lung associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD), 2) determine if specific infectious respiratory pathogens can be identified in association with early pathological changes, and 3) determine whether pulmonary pathology characterized by live animal lung biopsy at arrival and at the time of initial BRD diagnosis was associated with health and production outcomes of feedlot steers in a commercial feedlot. A live animal percutaneous lung biopsy technique was developed to obtain a lung sample from the right middle lung lobe in intercostal space (ICS) 4 using a Bard® Magnum® reusable biopsy instrument and a modified 4-mm (8g) biopsy needle. The lung biopsy procedure was limited to 2 attempts per biopsy time. In the technique development, 34 animals chronically affected with BRD were utilized, 20 animals in the preliminary development followed by 14 additional animals in a commercial feedlot setting. The technique resulted in 1 fatality of 34 steers (2.9%) and lung parenchyma was harvested in 19 of 34 steers (55.9%) chronically affected with BRD. In addition, in the commercial feedlot setting this procedure was determined to take about 20 minutes per animal. The final study was performed on one hundred feedlot steers considered at high risk of developing BRD from twenty pens within a commercial feedlot. Study animals were enrolled in three different groups: sick on arrival (ARR-SA) consisting of 27 study animals and 13 matched control animals; pen pulls with no fever (PP-NF) consisting of 14 study animals and matched 7 controls; and pen pulls with an undifferentiated fever (PP-UF) consisting of 26 study animals and 13 matched controls. Live animal percutaneous lung biopsies were collected from the right middle lung lobe at 3 different times within the first 30 days of the feeding period, about 2 weeks apart. All samples were histopathologically evaluated and were assessed for the presence of Mycoplasma bovis, Mannheimia haemolytica, Histophilus somni and bovine viral diarrhea virus with immunohistochemistry. A total of 295 lung biopsies were performed yielding 210 (71.2%) lung samples that were sufficient for histopathological evaluation. A histopathology score was awarded to each biopsy based on certain histopathological lesions being present. Only 20 lung biopsy samples from 19 animals received a histopathology score (ie, pulmonary lesions were present) with the most common score being a 1 (maximum score is 20). There were too few lung biopsy samples with a histopathology score to reveal any association with subsequent health events. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed on all lung biopsies recovered yielding one lung sample to be positive for both Mannheimia haemolytica and Mycoplasma bovis from the PP-UF group. There were too few positive samples to reveal any association between IHC and histopathology score. A post mortem evaluation was performed by a study veterinarian on all study animals who died or were humanely euthanized due to poor treatment response. In this study only 4 steers died or were euthanized due to poor treatment response and 3 control steers were humanely euthanized. There were too few animals to reveal any association between histopathology score and post mortem diagnosis. On entry into the feedlot, weights between ARR-SA and the PP-UF and PP-NF groups were significantly different (p



BRD, bovine respiratory disease, lung biopsy



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Large Animal Clinical Sciences


Large Animal Clinical Sciences



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