Tips For Identifying A Potential Mycoplasma Bovis Case

The dead giveaways that M. bovis is in a herd

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) can be caused by both viral and bacterial agents, but nailing down the culprit to just one factor can be difficult. When Mycoplasma bovis is involved, there may be a few signs that help point producers in the right direction.

“To me, it’s important to look at how the cattle are started,” says Daniel Scruggs, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health. “I think it can be obvious when you have an M. bovis problem when you’re three and four weeks into the cattle, and you have late pulls and nonresponse issues. The window between 14 and 21 days is a critical time period to identify when you have M. bovis problems.”

One of the most common infectious agents connected to clinical cases of BRD, M. bovis often leads to joint infections, ear infections,1 weight loss, pneumonia and fever.2 However, once clinical signs are apparent, it’s often too late to treat it effectively, Dr. Scruggs notes.

To help avoid the costly effects of M. bovis, Dr. Scruggs recommends using good animal husbandry to reduce overall stress on the animal and paying close attention to the type of cattle that are purchased. Treating cattle early with a proven antimicrobial labeled for M. bovis and other BRD-causing pathogens can help control the disease.

DRAXXIN® (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution is one of few antimicrobials labeled for treatment and the only one labeled for control of BRD caused by M. bovis. In field studies, DRAXXIN provided superior efficacy against BRD when compared with Baytril® (enrofloxacin) Injectable Solution, Nuflor® (florfenicol) Injectable Solution and Micotil® (tilmicosin) Injection.3,4,5,6

Dr. Scruggs cautions that bad weather and other factors can contribute to illness unrelated to M. bovis, but it’s often better to overreact than underreact due to the potentially costly — and deadly — results.

“The number one M. bovis-related loss is chronics, which are sold at a discount,” Dr. Scruggs notes. “The second biggest loss is mortalities, and those animals can take a lot of time and retreatment costs that are never recovered. Then, there are the animals that survive, but go on to be a much less efficient animal.”

Important Safety Information: Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. A pre-slaughter withdrawal time has not been determined for pre-ruminating calves. Effects on reproductive performance, pregnancy and lactation have not been determined. DRAXXIN has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 18 days.

Prescribing Information

About Pfizer Animal Health

Pfizer Animal Health, a business of Pfizer Inc., is a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines, investing an estimated $300 million annually in animal health product research and development. For more information about how Pfizer Animal Health works to ensure a safe, sustainable global food supply from healthy livestock, fish and poultry; or helps companion animals and horses to live longer, healthier lives, visit

1 Dyer NW. Recommendations on control of Mycoplasma bovis infection in beef feedlots. North Dakota State University 2008 Beef Research Report.

2 Bilderback M. Mycoplasma pneumonia-arthritis syndrome in stocker calves. Off the Hoof, March 2010;6-8.

3 Robb EJ, Tucker CM, Corley L, et al. Efficacy of tulathromycin versus enrofloxacin for initial treatment of naturally occurring bovine respiratory disease in feeder calves. Vet Ther 2007;8(2):127-135.

4 Skogerboe TL, Rooney KA, Nutsch RG, Weigel DJ, Gajewski K, Kilgore WR. Comparative efficacy of tulathromycin versus florfenicol and tilmicosin against undifferentiated bovine respiratory disease in feedlot cattle. Vet Ther 2005;6(2):180-196.

5 Nutsch RG, Skogerboe TL, Rooney KA, Weigel DJ, Gajewski K, Lectenberg KF. Comparative efficacy of tulathromycin, tilmicosin, and florfenicol in the treatment of bovine respiratory disease in stocker cattle. Vet Ther 2005;6(2):167-179.

6 Rooney KA, Nutsch RG, Skogerboe TL, Weigel DJ, Gajewski K, Kilgore WR. Efficacy of tulathromycin compared with tilmicosin and florfenicol for the control of respiratory disease in cattle at high risk of developing bovine respiratory disease. Vet Ther 2005;6(2):154-166.