Metabolic risk factors: Minimize fresh cow problems


Fernando Diaz

Most of the metabolic problems of the dairy cow happen during the first two weeks of lactation. It has been reported nearly 25% of the cows that leave herds do so during the first 60 days in milk (DIM). After calving, the requirements for energy increase due to colostrum production while dry-matter intake is reduced drastically.

The mammary gland at four days postcalving has increased demands for glucose (3 times), amino acids (2x) and fatty acids (3x) when compared to the uterus at 250 days of gestation. The mismatch between nutrient intake and demand generates a negative energy balance during several weeks after calving.

Ketosis challenges

Canadian researchers (Tatone et al., 2017) published in the Journal of Dairy Science the results from an observational study of 3,042 Ontario herds to estimate risk factors for ketosis in dairy cows. Ketosis was diagnosed as milk β-hydroxybutyrate ≥ 0.15 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) at the first dairy herd improvement association test when tested within the first 30 days in milk. The overall prevalence of ketosis in Ontario herds was 21%.

Continue reading this article published in Dairy Herd Management.