Feed Intake and Weight Changes in Bos indicus-Bos taurus Crossbred Steers Following Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus Type 1b Challenge Under Production Conditions.
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Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) has major impacts on beef cattle production worldwide, but the understanding of host animal genetic influence on illness is limited. This study evaluated rectal temperature, weight change and feed intake in Bos indicus crossbred steers (n = 366) that were challenged with BVDV Type 1b, and where family lines were stratified across three vaccine treatments of modified live (MLV), killed, (KV) or no vaccine (NON). Pyrexia classification based on 40.0 C threshold following challenge and vaccine treatment were investigated for potential interactions with sire for weight change and feed intake following challenge. Pyrexia classification affected daily feed intake (ADFI, p = 0.05), and interacted with day (p < 0.001) for ADFI. Although low incidence of clinical signs was observed, there were marked reductions in average daily gain (ADG) and cumulative feed intake during the first 14 day post-challenge; ADG (CV of 104%) and feed efficiency were highly variable in the 14-day period immediately post-challenge as compared to the subsequent 14-day periods. A sire vaccine strategy interaction affected ADFI (p < 0.001), and a sire by time period interaction affected ADG (p = 0.03) and total feed intake (p = 0.03). This study demonstrates that different coping responses may exist across genetic lines to the same pathogen, and that subclinical BVDV infection has a measurable impact on cattle production measures.