Using Lung Scanning Technology to Identify Respiratory Illnesses

August 22, 2023

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the second leading cause of illness in dairy calves. According to one study, animals that suffer from it go on to experience many negative effects, such as lower milk production and higher mortality rates, that can cost a producer up to $245 per heifer. Farmers typically screen for BRD through a visual assessment, which can easily result in a misdiagnosis.

Using a SARE Farmer/Rancher grant, Tabitha Steckler Hurst of Hunley Creek Heifer Farm in southern Indiana set out to see if the same ultrasound technology used to scan cows for pregnancy could be used in a practical setting to scan lungs for illness. Collaborating with two other farmers, she lung-scanned dairy calves at different ages to determine the best time for lung scanning. Hurst found that rather than identifying the exact ages at which farmers should scan animals, it’s most efficient to scan once to treat ill animals and to scan another time to cull them.

View Related SARE Grant:

Topics: Animal Protection and Health, Preventive Practices
Related Locations: Indiana, North Central