The objectives of the current observational study were to characterize the correlation among total serum Ca, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) and haptoglobin concentrations and daily rumination time (DRT) and activity of periparturient cows, and to determine the association between periparturient events and peripartum DRT and activity. Holstein cows from one commercial dairy farm (nulliparous = 77, parous = 219) were enrolled into the study at approximately 21 d before expected calving date. Cows were fitted with individual Heat Rumination Long Distance system (HRLD, SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel) from enrollment until approximately 21 � d postpartum. Blood samples collected weekly from enrollment to 21 d postpartum were used to determine concentrations of NEFA, BHBA, and haptoglobin. Blood samples collected within 72 h after calving were used to determine total serum Ca concentration. Sub-clinical ketosis was characterized by BHBA > 1,000 [mu]mol/L in any sample and sub-clinical hypocalcemia was characterized by Ca < 8.55 ng/dL within 72 h after calving. Cows were examined 1, 7 � 3 and 14 � 3 d postpartum for diagnosis of retained fetal membrane and metritis. Total Ca (r = 0.15), NEFA (r = -0.27), and haptoglobin (r = -0.18) concentrations were weakly correlated with DRT. Concentration of BHBA (r = -0.14) was weakly correlated with activity. Postpartum DRT was reduced among cows that delivered twins compared with cows that delivered singletons (385.9 � 17.1 vs 437.9 � 4.8 min/d). Prepartum (430.8 � 14. vs 465.8 � 4.19 arbitrary unit) and postpartum (480.3 � 19.4 vs. 536.5 � 5.5 arbitrary unit) activity were reduced among cows that delivered twins compared with cows that delivered singletons. Delivery of stillborn calves was associated with reduced DRT prepartum (417.0 � 23.4 vs. 478.0 � 5.9 min/d) and postpartum (386.5 � 19.3 vs 437.2 � 4.8 min/d). On the other hand, cows delivering stillborn calves had increased activity prepartum compared with cows delivering live calves (499.3 � 16.2 vs. 461.3 � 4.1 arbitrary unit). Occurrence of retained fetal membrane tended to and was associated with reduced prepartum (444.3 � 11.0 vs. 466.5 � 4.3 arbitrary unit) and postpartum (488.2 � 14.5 vs. 538.8 � 5.7 arbitrary unit) activity, respectively. Cows diagnosed with metritis had reduced postpartum DRT (415.9 � 10.1 vs 441.0 � 5.2 min/d) and activity (512.5 � 11.5 vs. 539.2 � 6.0 arbitrary unit) as compared to cows not diagnosed with metritis. Postpartum activity was reduced among cows that were diagnosed with sub-clinical ketosis (502.20 � 16.5 vs. 536.6 � 6.2 arbitrary unit). Although differences in DRT and activity between populations of cows that developed periparturient diseases and healthy cows were observed, further studies are necessary to determine whether (and how) DRT and activity data may be used to precociously diagnose individuals that will develop such periparturient diseases.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. June 2015. Major: Animal Sciences. Advisors: Ricardo Chebel, Marcia Endres. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 76 pages.
Characterization of peripartum rumination and activity of cows diagnosed with health disorders postpartum.
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