Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Smith, David R.

Committee Member

Wills, Robert W.

Committee Member

Karisch, Brandi B.

Committee Member

Huston, Carla L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Research

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Veterinary Medicine


Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine


Cattle health and production records (CHPR) are data collected by cattle producers and veterinarians in the form of measurements, observations, counts of events over time, and physiologic attributes that describe individual and group-level health and production. These data are useful to both veterinarians and cattle producers for making evidence-based decisions on cow-calf operations. Currently, there are no uniform, industry-wide methods of capturing and recording CHPR in the U.S. cow-calf industry. Although many cow-calf producers in the U.S. are thought to collect some form of CHPR, it is believed that relatively few are doing so in an electronic manner that facilitates optimal use and analysis of those records. Technology offers many opportunities to collect, record, and analyze CHPR for decision-making on cow-calf operations, with smartphones having great potential as a point-of-care CHPR collection device. Little is known regarding 1) barriers faced by producers to collecting and using CHPR, 2) interest of U.S. cow-calf producers in using technology such as smartphones for collecting and recording CHPR, and 3) the role of veterinarians in the collection and use of CHPR on U.S. cow-calf operations. The first study included in this dissertation was a survey of the cattle health and production record-keeping methods of cow-calf producers in Mississippi. The second study in this dissertation was a survey of cow-calf producers across the U.S. regarding their methods and opinions of cattle health and production record-keeping, their access to technology for record-keeping purposes, current types of data being collected on cow-calf operations, and the role of veterinarians in record-keeping on those cow-calf operations. The third study in this dissertation was a demonstration of common epidemiologic and biostatistical skills needed by veterinary practitioners to analyze CHPR and provide quality, evidence-based management recommendations to their cow-calf clients.