The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of somatic cell count (SCC), body condition score (BCS) or lameness score on ovarian follicular growth and ovulation in dairy cows. Seventy four animals 30-80 days post-partum were monitored for all three conditions before synchronization of ovarian follicular phases by administration of gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) followed seven days later with prostaglandin F2alpha (PG). Ultrasonography of both ovaries twice daily throughout the follicular phase revealed that fewer animals with combined high SCC and lameness (4/9) ovulated compared to healthy animals (19/21; P = 0.006) or animals with only high SCC (11/11; P = 0.004) or only lameness (21/27; P = 0.06). Overall, regardless of the presence of other concurrent conditions, fewer lame cows ovulated than Non Lame animals (30/42 and 30/32; P = 0.015). Mean follicular growth and maximum follicular diameter were unaffected by any of the three conditions. However, dominant follicle growth and maximum diameter were greater in the 60 animals that ovulated compared to the 14 that did not; 1.83 ± 0.16 versus 0.96 ± 0.26 mm/day (P = 0.014) and 19.4 ± 0.4 versus 16.4 ± 1.2 mm (P = 0.003), respectively. In conclusion, lameness reduced the proportion of cows that ovulated and the synergistic effect of high SCC and lameness reduced that proportion further. However, follicular growth and maximum follicular diameter were unaffected by high SCC, low BCS or lameness. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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