© 2015 Sepúlveda-Varas et al. The objectives of this study were to describe the incidence of postpartum disease and to evaluate the association with serum cholesterol concentrations during the first 3 weeks after calving in grazing dairy cows. The association between non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), calcium and postpartum diseases was also evaluated. A total of 307 Holstein dairy cows from 6 commercial grazing herds in Osorno, Chile, were monitored from calving until 21 days in milk. Cases of retained placenta, clinical hypocalcemia and clinical mastitis were recorded by the farmer using established definitions. Twice weekly, cows were evaluated for metritis by the same veterinarian based on vaginal discharge and body temperature. Postpartum blood samples were collected weekly and analyzed for serum concentrations of cholesterol, NEFA, BHBA and calcium. Cows were considered as having subclinical ketosis if BHBA > 1.2 mmol/L, and subclinical hypocalcemia if calcium < 2.0 mmol/L in any of the 3 weekly samples. Overall, 56% of the cows studied developed at least one clinical or subclinical disease after calving. Incidence of individual diseases was 8.8%for retained placenta, 4.2%for clinical hypocalcemia, 11.7% for clinical mastitis, 41.1% for metritis, 19.9% for subclinical hypocalcemia and 16.6% for subclinical ketosis. Lower postpartum cholesterol in cows was associated with developing severe metritis or having more than one clinical disease after calving. For every 0.4 mmol/L decrease in serum cholesterol cows were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with multiple clinical diseases after calving. Higher BHBA concentrations and lower calcium concentrations during week 1 were associated with severe cases of metritis. Low serum calcium concentration during week 1 was also associated with developing more than one clinical disorder after calving. In conclusion, the incidence of postpartum diseases can be high even in grazing herds and lower serum cholesterol concentrations were associated with occurrence of clinical postpatum disorders.
Sepúlveda-Varas, P., Weary, D. M., Noro, M., & Von Keyserlingk, M. A. G. (2015). Transition diseases in grazing dairy cows are related to serum cholesterol and other analytes. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0122317