Peripartal rumination dynamics and health status in cows calving in hot and cool seasons
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Our objective was to evaluate the effect of season of calving, associated with variable levels of heat stress, on the dynamics of rumination during the prepartum period and early lactation of cows that were healthy or affected by peripartal health disorders. Three weeks before the estimated due date, 210 multiparous Holstein cows at the University of Florida Dairy Unit were affixed with a neck collar containing rumination loggers, providing rumination time (RT) in 2-h periods. One blood sample was collected in a subpopulation of cows (n=76) at 12 to 48h postcalving to assess metabolic status by determining serum calcium, nonesterified fatty acid, and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations. The occurrence of peripartal health disorders (dystocia, clinical ketosis, clinical hypocalcemia, metritis, and mastitis) was assessed by University of Florida veterinarians and trained farm personnel. We analyzed the dynamics of daily RT over ± 14d relative to parturition in cows that were healthy or affected by specific health disorders by season of calving [hot season, June to September (n=77); cool season, November to April (n=118)] using repeated measures analysis and comparison of least squares means at different time points relative to calving. Rumination was consistently reduced on the day of calving in both healthy and sick cows in both the hot and cool seasons. Only hot-season calvings had shorter average daily RT prepartum and postpartum in cows affected by severe negative energy balance and subclinical ketosis. Dystocia during the hot season was associated with shorter daily RT prepartum; for cool-season calvings, cows with dystocia had reduced RT postpartum. We also observed reduced RT in cows with ketosis prepartum and postpartum in both the hot and cool seasons. Daily RT was reduced postpartum in cows with hypocalcemia and mastitis that calved during the cool season, and it was shorter in cows with metritis in both the hot and cool seasons. Our results indicated that the effect of heat stress on changes in rumination patterns around calving for sick cows depends on the specific health disorder or metabolic condition.
author list (cited authors)
Paudyal, S., Maunsell, F., Richeson, J., Risco, C., Donovan, A., & Pinedo, P.