Is the incidence of clinical mastitis associated with changes of weekly average dry matter intake in lactating dairy cows?
Keywords:mastitis, DMI, cow
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to test whether there is an association between clinical mastitis incidence and variations in dry matter intake in lactating dairy cows. Data were collected and analyzed from two voluntarily participating dairy herds (1,000 -1,200 cows) between 2017 and 2018. Lactating cows were assigned to seven “effective” husbandry groups (HGeff), considering important performance parameters such as lactation number, lactation day, reproductive status, and health status. The average daily dry matter intake of a cow in a husbandry group was determined once a week. Dry matter was determined using dehydration equipment that dried the fresh masses of the total mixed ration (TMR) in a standardized way. The incidence of clinical mastitis was calculated for different aetiological groups (environment associated mastitis pathogens, cow-associated mastitis pathogens, NAS (non-aureus staphylococci) and no growth cases). Dry matter intake (DMI) per individual cow was calculated as the averaged value plus the associated standard deviation (DMI (sd)) from weekly examinations of each husbandry group (HGeff). The average dry matter intake per cow per day was 23.6 kg +/- 3.7 kg. Environment associated pathogens were found in about half of all clinical mastitis cases (49.4 %). Cow-associated pathogens were found in 4.8 % of clinical mastitis
cases. In all models, the different clinical incidences of mastitis studied were significantly associated with HGeff. In most cases, the incident rates were significantly higher in the fresh milking and high milking groups compared to the other groups. The incidence of clinical non severe mastitis cases (only mild and moderate cases) caused by environment associated microorganisms was further associated with variation in dry matter intake, with higher variation related to higher clinical mastitis incidence. Further studies are needed to verify this association.
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