Weekly livestock news: November 6, 2023

Study aims to predict stress in cattle

Dark cutter refers to meat that fails to have a bright red color when grading. Carcasses without bright coloring are not sold in retail stores and are discounted for other food services. Scientists believe the condition is partially caused by the accumulative stressors livestock animals experience during the weaning phase. A project funded by the USDA’s Interdisciplinary Engagement in Animal Systems program will study moderate-growth and high-growth cattle under the same conditions to determine if differences exist between them when they are stressed. Sensor technology will be used to monitor animal behavior and response to stress, including heart rate, body temperature, steps and respiration rate. “These conditions don’t happen because animals experience stress one time. It’s a cumulative effect,” said Janeen Salak-Johnson, associate professor of food and animal sciences at Oklahoma State University. “This project will allow us to characterize the physiological responses of these animals based on their genetics for growth.”

Colorado State University to host Range Beef Cow Symposium in December

Colorado State University will host the Range Beef Cow Symposium on December 13-14 in Loveland, Colorado. The RBCS has been held every other year since 1969 and is hosted by South Dakota State University, Colorado State University, University of Wyoming and University of Nebraska beef cattle extension. The symposium will introduce attendees to the latest updates on topics of interest to the beef industry and allow them to network with producers, industry leaders and vendors. This year’s agenda includes topics such as marketing feeder calves with Darrell Peel, the newest research in vitamin A requirements for the cowherd with Mary Drewnoski, panel discussions such as wolf reintroduction and more. Industry professionals will be available to visit with producers about animal health products, feed, equipment, genetics, finances and more.

Kansas State University to lead effort evaluating economic impacts from foreign animal diseases

Kansas State University has been chosen to lead a five-year global animal health effort by opening a new center: the Collaborating Center for the Economics of Animal Health, Americas Region. Dustin Pendell, a K-State University professor and economist, has big goals for the center. “In a decade from now, I hope that anywhere across the world, if anybody needs anything done related to economics for animal health, animal burdens or animal welfare, they immediately turn to K-State,” he said. He and his team are looking to develop decision-making tools and improve communication on the economic impacts of animal diseases. K-State was selected by the World Organization for Animal Health, Bovine Veterinarian reports.

Strategies for preventing cattle abortions

Confirming pregnancy in the herd is an important milestone, but reproductive losses can still happen between confirmation of pregnancy and calving. Determining the cause of embryonic losses early in gestation is extremely difficult since the losses often happen well before an issue becomes apparent. Developing an overall herd health plan with a veterinarian can improve the recognition of preventable reproductive losses and enable preventative management strategies. Average annual abortion rates can vary widely from ranch to ranch, and due to associated costs, it’s not practical to investigate every suspected abortion. In addition, diagnostic workups for abortions historically have low rates of success in determining a definitive cause. However, ruling out causes of abortion via negative test results can provide valuable diagnostic data. There is always value in knowing what didn’t cause increased abortions in the herd, veterinarians Matt Hille and David Steffen write for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Researchers refine surgery to treat limb disease in cows

Researchers at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies developed a novel method to treat bovine spastic paresis, a neuromuscular disease characterized by spastic contractions of muscles in the hind limbs, Agriland reports. Surgery benefits the animal’s welfare by relieving pain and improving movement, growth and ability to gain weight, and it helps avoid economic losses to the farmer, the researchers said. A modified approach to a tenectomy, which is a procedure in which muscle spasms are remedied by surgically amending two of three tendons of the Achilles tendon, was developed. The research team at the Dick Vet Farm Animal Services found that the relevant tendons can be more easily accessed by making an incision closer to the hock—a simpler surgery compared to conventional tenectomy and neurectomy procedures used in the treatment of spastic paresis.

Second man to receive altered pig’s heart dies

A 58-year-old man with heart failure who received a new heart from a genetically modified pig died October 30, nearly six weeks after receiving the pig organ, University of Maryland Medical Center officials announced. Lawrence Faucette, of Frederick, Maryland, was the second patient at the medical center to have an ailing heart replaced with one from a pig that had been genetically modified so its organs would be more compatible with a human recipient and would not be rejected by the human immune system. The first patient, 57-year-old David Bennett, died last year, two months after his transplant. He had developed multiple complications, and traces of a virus that infects pigs were found in his new heart. Both of the patients had terminal heart disease when they received the transplanted organs and neither managed to recover sufficiently to leave the hospital, The New York Times reports.