Despite the regular use of feed-grade macrolide-antibiotics, bovine liver abscesses persist, representing a financial burden to pre-and post-mortem sectors of the beef industry. An immunoglobulin-Y (IGY) additive developed to target Fusobacterium necrophorum and Trueperella pyogenes, was evaluated for the control of liver abscesses. Research is needed for the impact of liver abscess severity as well as abscess duration on steer performance and carcass characteristics. Holstein steers (n = 64; initial body weight (BW) = 372.5 ± 2.41 kg) consuming a finishing diet for 188 d were used in a completely randomized design where treatments included: TYL (tylosin phosphate 90 mg/d; n = 32) or IGY (2.5 g/d; n = 32) and steer was the experimental unit. Feed intake was recorded daily while BW and liver ultrasound outcome (normal or abnormal) was recorded every 28 d until slaughter to estimate duration of abscess presence (DUR). Continuous variables of animal growth performance and carcass characteristics were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS. Categorical quality grade and liver data were analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure of SAS. Treatment did not affect live or carcass-adjusted growth performance (P ≥ 0.131). However, steers fed TYL had greater (P = 0.042) empty body fat (EBF) % and a greater proportion of carcasses grading premium choice than steers fed IGY (P = 0.030). Treatment did not affect prevalence of abscessed livers, abscess severity or estimated abscess duration (P ≥ 0.213) but datasets with greater experimental units are needed to substantiate this outcome. Increasing abscess severity tended (P ≤ 0.10) to linearly reduce carcass-adjusted gain to feed (G:F), fat thickness, and EBF. Carcass dressing % was only affected by severe (A+ and A+AD) abscess scores (P = 0.010). Carcass-adjusted final BW, average daily gain, G:F, and hot carcass weight was decreased only when the estimated DUR was ≥140 d (P ≤ 0.05). Carcass dressing %, however, was linearly affected by estimated liver abscess DUR (P ≤ 0.005), regardless of abscess severity. Preliminary evidence suggests that measuring the duration of liver abscess affliction during the feeding period may also give insight to the degree of performance reduction.
- antibiotic alternative
- liver abscess