Disease", also known as High Mountain Disease or Dropsy, is
one of the Rocky Mountain region's most costly diseases. The disease
is the result of elevated pulmonary arterial pressure caused from lack
of oxygen and generally affects only animals at an elevation above 5,000
in how they respond to oxygen shortage. some are able to tolerate
high pressures for a long period of time, while others die quickly.
Brisket disease is not limited to one sex or breed, and has been found
across all breeds including crossbreeds.
pressures (PAP) are obtained by a procedure called "right heart catherization."
In this procedure, a fine plastic catheter is passed through a needle in
the jugular vein, with blood flow into the upper right side of the heart,
through a valve into the right ventricle, through a valve, and into the
pulmonary artery just short of the branches to the lungs. Pressure
waves are observed on a heart monitor and the monitor gives a direct readout
of the true average pressure.
The PAP test
is the best indicator (tool) available to date for identifying animals
predisposed to Brisket Disease. The test is not 100% and should not
be used as such. Generally, cattle with pressures of greater than
50 mmhg are considered at risk but other criteria such a s age and elevation
of test site should be considered. Test scores are not consistently accurate
unless done at 6,500 feet elevation or higher.
shown that the heritability of Brisket Disease can be quite high, ranging
from 42%-84%. This indicates that cattlemen can successfully select
against the disease by culling cattle with high pulmonary arterial pressures.
In efforts to cut losses to Brisket Disease, cattlemen should identify
those animals, specifically bulls, with high pulmonary arterial pressures
and cull them from the herd to avoid adding them to the herd."