Effects of postpartum acetylsalicylic acid on metabolic status, health, and production in lactating dairy cattle

A. A. Barragan, E. Hovingh, S. Bas, J. Lakritz, L. Byler, A. Ludwikowski, S. Takitch, J. Zug, S. Hann

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7 Scopus citations


The transition period is one of the most challenging times for dairy cattle. Previous research suggests that treatment of postpartum cows with anti-inflammatory drugs may decrease pain and inflammation, enhancing cow welfare and performance during this challenging period. However, these strategies involve numerous time-consuming interventions, which require extra labor and do not fit modern farm logistics. The objective of this experiment was to assess the effects of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) every 24 h for 2 d after calving on (1) daily milk yield, daily milk conductivity, and daily rumination during the first 60 days in milk (DIM), and 305-d mature-equivalent milk, milk fat, and milk protein yields, (2) body condition score, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and haptoglobin, and (3) incidence of clinical diseases during the first 60 DIM. Dairy cows (n = 246) from a dairy farm located in Pennsylvania were enrolled in this experiment. Cows were blocked by parity and assigned randomly to 1 of 2 treatments: (1) ASA (n = 121), in which cows received 2 treatments with ASA (200 mg/kg; 4 boluses), the first within 12 h after parturition and the second 24 h later; or (2) untreated (UNT; n = 125), in which cows remained untreated. Blood samples were collected at 30 ± 6 h, 7 ± 3 d, and 14 ± 3 d after calving to measure BHB and haptoglobin concentrations. Body condition score was assessed at enrollment, 7 ± 3 DIM, 14 ± 3 DIM, and 50 ± 10 DIM. Furthermore, incidences of diseases, daily rumination, daily milk yield, and daily milk conductivity during the first 60 DIM and 305-d mature-equivalent milk, milk fat, and milk protein yields were collected from on-farm computer records. The data were analyzed using mixed multiple linear and logistic regression models as a randomized complete block design. Multiparous cows treated with ASA produced 1.64 kg/d more milk compared with multiparous cows that remained untreated (ASA = 41.66 ± 0.88 kg/d; UNT = 40.02 ± 0.81 kg/d) during the first 60 DIM. There was no difference in daily milk conductivity and rumination between treatments. Cows treated with ASA had lower concentration of BHB (ASA = 1.16 ± 0.64 mmol/L; UNT = 1.23 ± 0.80 mmol/L) during the first 14 ± 3 DIM and had higher body condition score within the first 50 ± 10 DIM compared with cows that remained UNT. There were no differences in circulating concentrations of haptoglobin between treatments. These results support previous findings showing that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs after calving may increase milk production and affect the metabolic status of dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8443-8452
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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