The Association of Negative Energy Balance, Sub-Clinical Hypocalcemia, and Periparturient Disease with Rate of Weight Loss and 30-Day Milk Production in Dairy Cattle
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The objective was to analyze the association of abnormal blood metabolite levels (prepartum and postpartum non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and calcium) and periparturient diseases (clinical ketosis, mastitis, displaced abomasum, retained placenta, metritis, lameness and periparturient paresis) with rate of weight loss and milk yield during the first thirty days in milk. A total of 105 Holstein cows from three farms in New York were analyzed. Blood samples, back fat measurements, body condition scores, lameness assessments, and records for body weight, milk yield, and disease occurrence were collected beginning approximately a week before parturition until thirty days in milk. Back fat and body condition scores were not correlated with each other and were not included in the final analysis. The associations between the interaction of each blood metabolite with disease and change in body weight and milk yield were stratified by parity and evaluated with the MIXED procedure in statistical software. All cows that developed disease experienced exacerbated weight loss and reduced milk production than healthy herd mates. Each parity group had a different indicator metabolite for faster weight loss (parity 1 = prepartum NEFA, parity 2 = BHB, parity 3 = postpartum NEFA), but calcium was not a reliable indicator for any group. Elevated prepartum NEFA and BHB levels were associated with reduced milk production for cows of parity > 2, while blood metabolites were only useful for heifers which concurrently developed disease. By using these tests, farmers can intervene early to optimize animal health and economic return.
dairy cows; heifers; negative energy balance; hypocalcemia; ketosis; calcium; non-esterified fatty acids; homeorhesis; the transition period; periparturient; metabolic disease; lameness; postpartum
dissertation or thesis