Liver Abscesses in Beef Cattle

Potential for Dairy Monitoring?


  • T. G. Nagaraja Department of Diagnostic Medicine / Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506-5606



liver abscesses, feeding program, animal performance, economic loss


The prevalence and economic impact of liver abscesses in feedlot cattle are well documented.7 Abscessed livers in slaughtered feedlot cattle generally result from an aggressive feeding program, with incidence averaging from 12% to 32% in most feedlots.3 Because liver abscesses are secondary to ruminal acidosis and rumenitis, such feeding practices as rapid increase in energy intake and poor or inconsistent bunk management - characterized by irregular feeding (both amounts and intervals) - promote a higher incidence of liver abscesses.4 While abscesses are the leading cause ofliver condemnation, the greatest economic impact of liver abscesses is from reduced animal performance and carcass yield. Reported effects of abscesses on animal performance have ranged from no effect to a depression in daily gain as great as 11% and a decrease in feed efficiency as much as 9.7%.3 Cattle with multiple and/or large liver abscesses also may require more carcass trimming because of adhesion of abscesses to the diaphragm and surrounding organs. In some instances, condemnation of the entire viscera is necessary, contributing to significant economic loss.






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