Associations of pre- and postpartum lying time with metabolic, inflammation, and health status of lactating dairy cows.


Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210. Electronic address: [Email]


The objective was to evaluate the associations of pre- and postpartum lying time (LT) with serum total calcium (Ca), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and haptoglobin concentrations, hemogram, and health status of dairy cows. A total of 1,052 Holstein cattle (401 nulliparous heifers and 651 parous cows) from 3 commercial dairy farms were fitted with electronic data loggers (IceQube, IceRobotics, Edinburgh, UK) on a hind leg 14 ± 3 d before parturition (dpp) and removed at 14 ± 3 d in milk (DIM) to assess their LT. Lying time data were summarized and reported daily (min/d or h/d). Serum concentrations of NEFA (at 14 ± 3 and 7 ± 3 dpp), total serum calcium within 48 h after calving, and BHB (at 7 ± 3 and 14 ± 3 DIM) were determined. Serum concentration of haptoglobin was determined and a hemogram was performed on a subsample of 577 cows (237 primiparous and 340 multiparous) at 7 ± 3 DIM. Cases of milk fever, retained placenta, metritis, mastitis, pneumonia, and digestive disorders within 30 DIM were recorded and cows were categorized into 1 of 4 groups: (1) nondiseased (ND, n = 613; cows without ketosis and any other health conditions); (2) cows with only ketosis (KET, n = 152); (3) sick cows experiencing ≥1 health conditions, but without ketosis (SICK, n = 198); or (4) cows with ketosis plus at least one other health condition (KET+, n = 61). Data were analyzed using mixed linear regression models or logistic regression (MIXED or GLIMMIX procedures). Lying time within 14 dpp had a significant positive quadratic association with serum NEFA concentrations at 14 ± 3 and 7 ± 3 dpp but was not significantly associated with serum Ca concentration within 48 h after calving. Lying time during the first 14 DIM after parturition had a significant linear association with the risk of ketosis within 14 DIM. For every 1-h increment in mean LT (from 8 to 15 h/d) within the first 14 DIM after calving, the risk of diagnosis with ketosis within 14 DIM increased by 3.7 percentage points. Regardless of parity, a greater proportion of KET and KET+ groups had increased serum prepartum NEFA concentration (≥400 µEq/L) and increased body condition loss from 14 dpp to 28 DIM compared with SICK and ND cows. A greater proportion of multiparous KET and KET+ cows had hypocalcemia within 48 h after calving compared with ND and SICK cows, but we did not detect a significant association between hypocalcemia and health status on primiparous cows. Multiparous KET+ cows had significantly reduced neutrophils and white blood cell count compared with ND cows, but lymphocytes did not differ. Regardless of parity, KET+ and SICK cows had significantly higher concentrations of serum haptoglobin compared with ND cows. These results suggest that LT along with energy and Ca balance are critical for transition cow health.


dairy cattle,health,inflammation,lying time,

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