Mode of action. It's something you've heard from you veterinarian or seen on a product label, but what exactly does this phrase mean for bovine respiratory disease management?

 What is mode of action?


Mode of action (MOA) is the interaction between the anti-infective and the bacteria that contribute to bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Some anti-infectives affect the cell wall of the bacteria, punching a hole in the cell wall, resulting in the contents leaking out and putting an end to the bacteria. Other anti-infectives get inside the cell and shut down the mechanics by stopping how the cell produces energy or protein1, which means the cell can’t divide or replicate. How the anti-infective attacks the bacteria is the MOA.


What does MOA mean for BRD treatment? Why is this important?

When looking at the pathogen, or a group of pathogens, that warrant treatment, the MOA is often one important consideration by a veterinarian. Various anti-infectives in laboratory analysis have been demonstrated to be either more or less effective against certain pathogens. For example, if you are treating a Mycoplasma bovis infection, a product that has been tested and proven to be effective against this pathogen is important. This encompasses both laboratory analysis and clinical response demonstrated by improvement in treated animals. Keep in mind that a product with an appropriate MOA is only one part of successful recovery from disease. The animal’s own immune system also plays a large part. Early detection is critical and, in some cases, continual therapy2 can help support the time it takes for a calf to rest and heal. Other support to aid in healing includes excellent nutrition and pen environment management. These components contribute to the animal’s ability to successfully heal, a process that takes time.


With the complex nature of BRD, choosing an anti-infective with the right MOA can be a contributor to better BRD treatment results. However, this information sometimes is not available immediately when an animal, or set of animals, becomes ill. Your veterinarian can help you diagnose and execute a plan of treatment action based on MOA, evidence-based medicine and clinical response. This can mean more successful first treatments of BRD, fewer doses of antibiotics, more responsible use of antibiotics and economically significant savings on your operation in both money and time.


Zoetis has a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for your BRD challenges. This means that there are products with different MOAs available and management solutions to help control and treat BRD. Our commitment to research and development, antimicrobial resistance monitoring and education regarding the appropriate use of our products helps to ensure you continue to have the tools and support you need to provide the best care for your animals to keep them healthy. 

1 Evans NA. Tulathromycin: An Overview of a New Triamilide Antibiotic for Livestock Respiratory Disease. Vet Ther. 2005;6:83-95.


2 Abell KM, Theurer ME, Larson RL, White BJ, Apley M. A mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis of metaphylaxis treatments for bovine respiratory disease. J Anim Sci. 2017;95:626-635.

Protect your investment with Zoetis BRD Solutions.
Learn More