Heifer Mastitis Risk Post-Parturition: Management factors associated with a low rate of Subclinical Heifer Mastitis in a Herd-Level Study



mastitis, heifer mastitis, risk factors


This study focused on assessing risk factors for heifer mastitis post-parturition, with a particular emphasis on understanding the associated management factors at herd level. Through examination of on-farm practices, milking routine observation and heat-stress consideration of 77 German dairy herds, the study set out to unravel the complexities contributing to a high / low rate of subclinical mastitis in heifers. For this purpose, the annual heifer mastitis rate (HMR) was provided by the dairy herd improvement (DHI) test and farms were categorized into two groups based on their HMR: herds with a low HMR (LHMR) and herds with a high HMR (HHMR). In the final multivariable model, two variables differed significantly among the herd categories. Herds with a higher proportion of heifers with a BCS < 3 were more likely to fall into the LHMR category. Herds with a higher proportion of heifers with a lameness score of 3 were more likely to be HHMR herds. These findings offer practical implications for dairy farmers in optimizing udder health and productivity in heifers at herd level. These associations from our cross-sectional study should be verified in a prospective study.


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