An assessment of the effectiveness of virginiamycin on liver abscess incidence and growth performance in feedlot cattle: a comprehensive statistical analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • The judicious use of commercial products in livestock operations can be part of a sustainable and environmentally friendly production scenario. This study was designed to gather published data of virginiamycin (VM) used in feedlot conditions of the United States and analyze its effectiveness and optimum dosage in reducing the liver abscess incidence (LAI). The dataset contained 26 studies that evaluated more than 7,156 animals of diverse breeds fed in several regions in the United States under different management. Statistical analyses included contingency tables to assess the nonparametric independence of the LAI, meta regression analysis to remove study effects and to evaluate LAI and animal performance, broken-line analysis to determine thresholds of VM dosage on LAI, and residual-based shading mosaic plots to illustrate the contingency analysis. There were 1,391 of 5,430 animals with LAI scores 1, 2, or 3 (LAI1-3) and 651 of 4,690 animals with LAI A+ (score 3). Our analyses suggested that there was a significant dependency (2P-value < 0.001) and significant asymmetry (McNemar's test P-value < 0.001) between LAI and VM treatment for both LAI1-3 and LAI A+. For the LAI1-3 group, only 22.5% of the treated animals had liver abscesses compared with 31.7% of the control animals. The metaregression analysis indicated that LAI1-3 was linearly reduced (P < 0.001) by about 0.42% per mg/kg of DM of VM. The lower 95% confidence interval of the intercept for LAI1-3 and LAI A+ obtained with a generalized nonlinear mixed regression was 18.7 and 20.3 mg/kg of DM, respectively. The broken-line regression analysis identified 2 thresholds for LAI (23.9 and 12.3 mg/kg of DM) at which the reduction in total LAI1-3 and LAI A+, respectively, would decrease faster as VM dosage increases (from 2.14% to 6% and from 1.91% to 4.33% per mg of VM per kg of DM, respectively). Additionally, our analyses indicated that after accounting for the study effects, VM significantly increased ADG at 2.08 g BW/d per mg/kg DM compared with 0.92 g BW/d per mg/kg DM for monensin (P < 0.001), suggesting that VM was about 2.3 times more effective in increasing ADG for the same dosage and feeding period length. All analyses yielded consistent results that led us to conclude that VM is effective in reducing LAI when fed between approximately 12 and 24 mg/kg of DM, and the maximum reduction might occur at approximately 24 mg/kg of DM or higher.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Tedeschi, L. O., & Gorocica-Buenfil, M. A.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Tedeschi, Luis O||Gorocica-Buenfil, Milton A

publication date

  • June 2018