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The relationship between body condition at calving, uterine performance postpartum and trends in selected blood metabolites postpartum in high yielding Californian dairy cows

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2018

M. Titterton
Dept. Animal Science, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
L.D. Weaver*
Veterinary Medical Teaching and Research Centre, University of California, Davis, 18830 Road 112, Tulare, California 93274, USA
Current address: 09212 US Route 20, Montpelier, Ohio 43543, USA
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The relationship between body condition at calving, uterine tone and discharge, time to first oestrus and changes in concentration of serum calcium and magnesium in early post partum was examined in 209 multiparous dairy cows located in four herds in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Body condition score (BCS) was graded from 0 to 5 and BCS at calving was estimated from BCS in the late dry period (LDBCS). Uterine tone and discharge were graded from l(best) to 3(worst) after rectal palpation at two weeks post partum. Concentrations of blood metabolites and levels of progesterone were determined from blood samples taken at selected stages of lactation from the late dry period to ten weeks post partum. Abnormal uterine discharges were strongly correlated with uterine tone. Uterine tone and discharge scores were significantly lower in cows that calved with body condition scores of 2.5 and 3.0 than in those which calved with body condition scores of < 2.5 and ≥ 3.5. Serum calcium and magnesium concentrations were higher at two weeks post partum in cows with scores of 2.5 and 3 than in cows with higher or lower scores. Serum calcium and magnesium concentrations appeared to be higher with decrease in grades of uterine discharge and tone but this was significant only in the case of serum calcium and uterine discharge. The number of days to first oestrus was significantly associated with uterine discharge and tone (P < 0.05) but not significantly associated with LDBCS. The number of days to second oestrus was not significantly associated with uterine discharge and tone but was significantly less in cows with LDBCS 3 (17.28 days) than cows with lower or higher LDBCS (P < 0.05). It is concluded that body condition at calving is associated with serum micromineral balance and subsequent uterine and ovarian health. Based on these measurable indicators, cows calving with body condition scores of 2.5 and 3 appeared to be in optimum condition for post partum reproductive performance.

Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 2001

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