Statistical and Economic Implications Associated with Precision of Administering Weight-based Medication in Cattle
Metaphylactic treatment of incoming feedlot cattle is a common preventative action against bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Cattle are dosed based on estimated or actual lot average weights, rather than on an individual basis, to reduce initial processing time. There has been limited research conducted on the effects of accurate weight- based dosing in feedlot cattle. The objective of this study was to evaluate the economic effects of precision weight- based dosing of cattle as compared to dosing the lot average or lot averages plus 50 lb and minus 50 lb. An economic model was created and stochastic simulations performed to evaluate potential outcomes of different dosing scenarios. Economic analyses of the effects of precision weight-based dosing were conducted using SIMETAR? to determine the stochastic dominance and economic effects of different dosing regimens. Data were obtained from a commercial feedlot for different lots of cattle where individual animal weights were available; for this analysis the minimum lot size was 30 animals, and the maximum lot size was 126 animals. Within lots, individual weight deviations were calculated from the lot mean, the lot mean was rounded up to the nearest 50 lb increment or down to the nearest 50 lb increment to represent mild overestimation and mild underestimation, respectively. Tulathromycin (Draxxin?, Pfizer Animal Health, New York, NY), an antimicrobial commonly prescribed for treatment of bovine respiratory disease, was used to illustrate the impacts of uniform dosing versus exact dosing per body weight. Based on the dilution space method used to evaluate time of drug effectiveness, it was estimated that Draxxin? administered at the recommended dosage to cattle weighing between 500 and 1000 lb should be provided with 191 hours (7.96 days) of protection from pneumonia-causing bacteria. Due to the pharmacokinetic properties of Draxxin?, an animal that is administered half the recommended dose is only protected from pneumonia-causing bacteria for 8 hours, which is 4.2 percent of the coverage time of the proper dose. This limits the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment to fully administer therapeutic treatment. In all cases, the correct weight-based dosing strategy cost less than any other dosing technique. Overall, dosing all cattle at the lot average weight costs $6.04 per animal more than dosing at the exact, correct dose. Dosing all animals at the lot average weight plus 50 lb costs $6.24 per animal more; dosing all animals at lot average minus 50 lb costs $4.01 per animal more. The use of individual animal weights to determine per head dosing of Draxxin? is more cost effective than using lot averages. This concept would appear to extend to all weight-based pharmaceutical products in general, and should be considered a necessary management strategy.