Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine


Veterinary Microbiology

First Advisor

Johann Coetzee

Second Advisor

James Roth


Transportation is one of the most common production practices for cattle throughout the United States and the world. During this event, cattle handling, a new environment, and other compiled life events cause stress. Transport and stress influence inflammation, immune function and subsequently can lead to bovine respiratory disease. This disease complex is one of the largest production losses that the beef industry deals with on a daily basis. In this dissertation, we tested the efficacy of a non-conventional therapeutic, meloxicam, to mitigate the negative response of transportation. The encompassed chapters hypothesized meloxicam given orally prior to transportation would reduce stress, reduce acute phase protein inflammation, reduce immune system inhibition, improve production performance benefits and improve clinical outcomes of disease. In the first trial, meloxicam was administered per os prior to a long-distance transportation at 1mg/kg. The study demonstrated a reduction in the stress leukogram and an inverse relationship of meloxicam to circulating cortisol in beef steers. In the second study, we compared the adaptive immune function invitro through multiparameter flow cytometry. Subjects were grouped in non-transport or transportation groups. Nested in these groups the subjects were treated with meloxicam or placebo. Meloxicam and transportation had an effect on adaptive immune function. Meloxicam administered prior to transport can be interpreted as inhibitory or homeostatic when compared to the singular effect of transportation on the immune system. Finally, the last phase of research was a clinical field trial to elucidate clinical outcomes of bovine respiratory disease. Three treatment groups of pre-transportation meloxicam, on arrival meloxicam and placebo were compared. Meloxicam had no effect on clinical outcomes of BRD. In addition, there was no change in the process of disease severity or rectal temperature at BRD identification. In similarity, there was no change in average daily gain, feed conversion or body weight performance measured at 42 days. The lack of significant differences over the course of the initial receiving culminated in no observable differences of harvest parameters. The dissertation research confirms that meloxicam is beneficial when administered prior to transportation for reduction of the stress and potential normalization of immune function but lacks clinical efficacy in mitigation of disease outcomes that translate to beneficial performance and harvest outcomes.

Copyright Owner

Nicholas Kelly Van Engen



File Format


File Size

185 pages