Managing fresh and dry cows, transition cow disorders, management too is including protocol, vaccination, feed additives.
In cattle, the transition period, which encompasses three weeks prior to three weeks after calving, is a critical time in the cows life with increased incidence of metabolic and infectious diseases. During this time cows suffer from immunosuppression and negative energy balance. Negative energy balance (NEB) and immunosuppression are related in transition dairy cows and occur due to extreme metabolic stress and changing hormones as the cow transitions from a pregnant to energy-demanding lactating state coupled with decreased dry matter intake. Incidences of periparturient diseases are not only detrimental to the overall health and well-being of the cow, but they can also decrease milk output and reproductive efficiency, causing economic loss to the producer. For these reasons, improved management during the transition period that improves the health and well-being of the cow are paramount for setting the stage for successful reproduction and high milk production.Two approaches were taken to address the challenges of the transition period. The first approach was to feed an omega-3 fatty acid extruded flaxseed supplement and measure effects on transition dairy cow immune function, plasma metabolites, and fatty acid composition of milk fat, plasma, and red blood cells. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) decrease expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines promoting an anti-inflammatory state. Further benefits of feeding fats include improved milk production and composition and improved fertility.The second approach was to supplement transition dairy cows with a small molecule methane inhibitor and observe effects on return of ovarian activity. In a recent study, cows that received a methane inhibitor had increased body weight gain compared to cows that received a placebo. It is hypothesized that reducing methane production could make more energy available to the cow for other productive functions. To test this hypothesis, progesterone was measured in defatted milk via enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). Parameters measured were days to evidence of a first corpus luteum (CL), length of first luteal phase, days to evidence of second CL, and interval between luteal phases. Evidence suggests that ovarian activity cannot resume until negative energy balance ceases and cows enter a positive energy balance. Cows that enter positive energy balance and cycle more before first service are more likely to have higher conception and pregnancy rates.These two approaches were taken because NEB and immunosuppression are the primary causes of negative health events in transition dairy cows. Overall, the first approach showed cows receiving the flaxseed supplement had greater ALA in plasma and milk fat, reduced mRNA abundance of TNF and IL6, and reduced neutrophil phagocytosis and ROS. Results indicate that the omega-3 supplement altered the activation status of the immune system and reduced inflammatory responses. This reduction in neutrophil activity may increase energy available to the cow for productive functions, although this speculation needs to be confirmed with further research. The milk fat and plasma exhibited greater ALA the longer the cows were on the diet indicating this supplement can be used to produce milk with higher omega-3 fatty acids, which is an area of increased consumer interest. In the methane inhibitor study, there were no differences observed between treatment groups for any of the reproductive parameters. Results from both studies provide further support for the importance of maintaining proper energy balance during the transition period to support immune function and productive functions in dairy cattle.
The transition period consists of two phases, the first being formed by last three weeks before calving and the second by the first three weeks postpartum. This period is marked by metabolic diseases affecting cows. The heat increment promoted by higher energy demand that occurs during the transition period between the end of lactation and early management, combined with low dry matter intake due to fetal growth major and consequent reduced ability of the rumen, make the dairy cow highly susceptible to the metabolic diseases ketosis, milk fever and hepatic lipidosis. The increase in blood concentrations of non-esterifies fatty acids during this transition period appear to be linked to the onset of these disorders and this can be explained by the high energy mobilization because of the negative energy balance. Diets with high energy density during this period are extremely necessary to minimize the effects of negative energy balance. In addition it is recommended to feed the animals with foods smaller particles, precursors of glucose, such as propylene glycol or starchy concentrates, protected fat and vegetable oils that do not degrade the ruminal microorganisms.
The present study evaluates the effect of different dietary phosphorus (P) levels in dairy cattle during the transition period, focussing on animal performance and animal health. Overfeeding P in the dry period (185% vs. 100% of requirements) did not affect feed intake or milk yield postpartum, but decreased plasma P and Ca concentrations and increased the risk for periparturient hypocalcemia. A reduction of the dietary P content in lactation diets (70% vs. 100%) reduced the average plasma P concentration, increased plasma Ca concentration and P mobilisation and reduced faecal excretion of P. However, no negative effects on cow performance or animal health were found for diets with a P content below calculated requirements in the first eight weeks postpartum.
The transition period is often defined as the interval beginning three weeks precalving and ending three weeks postcalving. It is a period where the dairy cow undergoes tremendous metabolic, physiological and nutritional changes to ensure provision of adequate nutrients for processes of calving and milk production. If the dairy cow cannot adapt quickly to these challenges - that indeed is happened for most of modern dairy cows- she face different metabolic disorders. The occurrence of health problems hence is clearly a major complicating factor for subsequent productive, reproductive performance and herd profitability that resulting in substantial economic losses. Therefore, control of metabolic disorders is crucially important for modern dairy herds as during the past 20 years a huge amount of experiments has focused on this field. To control and prevention from these disorders, exact understanding of each disorder is inevitable.
The aim of this thesis research was to determine if reducing the length of wheat straw and water addition to high straw dry cow diets could improve intake, reduce feed sorting, and improve metabolic health and production of dairy cows across the transition period. In 2 studies, Holstein cows were assigned to a dietary treatment at dry off and fed the same lactating diet for 28 d post-calving. In study 1, cows were fed a diet that had straw chopped with either a 2.54-cm screen, or a 10.16-cm screen. In study 2, cows were fed a diet that either had water added or had no water. The diet with straw chopped with a 2.54-cm screen and the diet with added water resulted in improved intake during the dry period and in the week leading up to calving. Cows sorted less against the long particles when fed the shorter chopped straw and the diet with added water. Lastly, cows fed the shorter chopped straw and cows fed the diet with added water, had improved rumen health in the week following calving. The results of these studies suggest that reducing the chop length of wheat straw and adding water can improve intake, reduce feed sorting, and promote both metabolic and rumen health.
Early detection of disease is the key to successful management of the transition dairy cows, leading to timely treatment and prevention of costs associated with prolonged treatment and prolonged milk yield reduction. Electronic systems that allow for monitoring rumination, activity and milk yield of individual cows are now available. Our objective was to determine the association between changes in rumination behavior, activity milk yield and milk components with health disorders in the peripartum and early lactation cows.
Adipose tissue depots have an important role in dairy cows, as they are usually mobilized after parturition in response to negative energy balance (NEB), a consequence of increased nutrient demand of fetal growth and onset of milk production, which cannot be satisfied by feed intake. The most common methods to evaluate fat depots, thus the condition of the cows are measurement of body weight and body condition scoring. However, these procedures lack the accuracy to predict changes of subcutaneous and internal fat depots. Recently, a new method was developed to assess the mass of different fat depots by ultrasonography. This method allowed to assess non-invasively mass of subcutaneous and abdominal adipose depots with sufficient accuracy, and changes of these depots over time in vivo. Earlier studies used this method to evaluate the adipose tissue mass of different depots, the changes in depot masses, as well as the effect of feed additives on depots. The results of these studies showed that more fat accumulates in abdominal (AAT) depots and that AAT has greater lipolytic activity compared to subcutaneous (SCAT) depot. The aim of this work was to evaluate the fat depots of dairy cows with higher and lower body condition during the transition period and early lactation. We found that ultrasonography was a suitable tool to determine the depot masses and to follow their changes over time. Our results were similar to those presented in earlier studies. The mass of the adipose depots increased during the dry period and decreased after calving. The SCAT had smaller mass than AAT during the whole trial period, as well as that, more fat was mobilized from AAT compared to SCAT after calving. This indicates that AAT has a greater role in fat storage and mobilization in dairy cows. Further, we found that leaner cows had smaller adipose depots and mobilized less fat after parturition. Additionally, we found a lack of correlation between NEB and mobilization of adipose depots during the fresh cow period, suggesting NEB is not the only cause of fat mobilization in this period. Mechanisms involved in homeorhetic adaption to lactation, such as decoupling of somatotropic axis, responsiveness to insulin or [beta]-adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis, as well as inflammatory stimuli, could have affected the usage of fat depots. Our results point to complexity of adipose metabolism and further research could better elucidate the underlying effects. Another part of this study was to examine the effects of monensin (MON), an ionophore, on fat depots and mobilization. Earlier studies found that MON decreases the levels of non-esterified fatty acids, one of the indicators of the level of fat mobilization in dairy cows after calving, which might indicate an antilipolytic activity of this compound. We could not prove this hypothesis, as MON had no effect on fat depo masses or their change. The lack of MON effect on post calving NEFA levels further strengthened our findings. These results suggest that MON most likely effects the hepatic or post hepatic utilization of NEFA in the period after calving. We examined and compared the daily activity of leaner and fatter dairy cows, a possible additional cause for higher NEFA levels in cows with higher body condition. Muscles can use NEFA to cover their energy requirements during the transition period. Authors of a recent publication reported a negative correlation between NEFA levels and walking activity of dairy cows. This might indicate that fatter cows are less active, thus using less NEFA during the transition period, conversely leading to higher NEFA concentrations. However, our results do not support this, as there was no difference in daily activity of cows with low and high condition after calving. On the other hand, activity is an indicator of animal welfare and comfort. In the dry period, the fatter cows had higher number of lying bouts compared to lean cows: This could indicate that cows with higher condition experienced less comfort during lying, as a consequence of greater body mass. Taken together, the results of this study show that there are significant differences between the subcutaneous and internal adipose depots, not just on cow level, but between the individual animals, too. Additionally, it was demonstrated that monensin, as well as daily activity did not affect the adipose depots of dairy cows.
Yeast culture supplementation has been used to improve the health and performance of dairy cows for the last 25 years. To evaluate the effect of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product (Diamond V Original XPTM) on the health and production of peripartal Holstein cows, two research studies were conducted. The first experiment took place on the Oregon State University research dairy where feed intake behavior was continuously monitored. Treatments (administered 3 wks before anticipated calving date through 3 wks postpartum) included 0, 57, and 228 g/d XP. Yeast culture was reported to affect primi- and multiparous cows similarly by improving milk yield and prepartum intake, with little effect on metabolic parameters. To test the effect on a larger scale, a second experiment was conducted using 96 multiparous cows on a commercial dairy. A method for individually feeding cows in a freestall barn was created and implemented to preserve the cow as the experimental unit. Cows were given treatments (0, 56, or 112 g/d XP) daily from 4 wks prior to expected calving date through 4 wks postpartum. Yeast culture supplementation significantly improved lactation performance in second parity cows and improved metabolic status of all cows, especially older animals. Yeast culture supplementation was beneficial for improving lactation performance and health of dairy cows through the transition period. Further research is required to elucidate the mode of action and determine the optimum dosage.
Cows diagnosed with subclinical ketosis (SCK) after calving are at increased risk of developing other diseases and compromised reproductive performance. The objective of this study was to determine if changes in voluntary feeding and social behaviours during the transition period, consisting of the 3 wk before and 3 wk after calving, could identify dairy cows at elevated risk of SCK during the week after calving. The feeding behaviours of 101 Holstein dairy cows were monitored from 3 wk before to 3 wk after calving. Ten animals were identified as having SCK by serum BHBA levels ≥1000μmol/L during wk +1, but were otherwise healthy. These animals were compared with 10 healthy animals, balanced for parity. Displacements at the feed bunk were measured during peak feeding times on 3 d during the week before calving. During the wk before calving and the 2 wk after calving, animals with SCK had lower dry matter intake (DMI), fewer visits to the feeder and spent less time at the feeder than healthy animals. For every 10 min decrease in average daily time spent at the feeder during the week before calving, the risk of SCK increased by 1.9 times. During the same week, a 1 kg decrease in average daily DMI increased the risk of SCK by 2.2 times. The largest increase in risk of SCK was associated with a 1 kg decrease in the change in average daily DMI from wk -2 to wk -1. During the week before calving, SCK animals initiated fewer displacements at the feed bunk when compared to animals that remained healthy after calving. The results of this study provide evidence that the amount of time spent feeding, DMI and social behaviour are associated with the development of SCK after calving. These results indicate that special consideration should be given to management and social factors that can negatively affect feeding behaviour during the transition period.