Phenotypic relationships of common health disorders in dairy cows to lactation persistency estimated from daily milk weights

J. A.D.R.N. Appuhamy, B. G. Cassell, C. D. Dechow, J. B. Cole

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31 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to investigate the phenotypic relationship between common health disorders in dairy cows and lactation persistency, uncorrected with 305-d yield. The relationships with peak yield and days in milk (DIM) at peak were also studied. Daily milk weights and treatment incidence records of 991 Holstein lactations from experimental dairy herds at Virginia Tech and Pennsylvania State University were used. Persistency was calculated as a function of daily yield deviations from standard lactation curves, developed separately for first (FL) and later lactations (LL), and deviations of DIM around reference dates: 128 for FL and 125 for LL. Days in milk at peak and peak yield were computed for each lactation by using Wood's function. The disease traits studied were mastitis (MAST) only during the first 100 d (MAST1), only after 100 DIM (MAST2), both before and after 100 DIM (MAST12), and at any stage of lactation (MAST1/2), as well as metritis, displaced abomasums, lameness, and metabolic diseases. Each disease was defined as a binary trait, distinguishing between lactations with at least one incidence (1) and lactations with no incidences (0). The relationships of diseases to persistency, DIM at peak, and peak yield were investigated separately for FL and LL for all disease traits except MAST12, which was investigated across parities. The relationships of persistency to probability of the diseases in the same lactation and in the next lactation were examined using odds ratios from a logistic regression model. Metritis and displaced abomasums in FL and LL were associated with significantly higher persistencies. Metabolic diseases and MAST1 in LL were significantly related to higher persistencies. The relationships of MAST2 in both FL and LL, and MAST12 across parities were significant but negative. Cows affected by MAST tended to have less persistent lactations. Most of the iseases had a significant impact on DIM at peak in LL. In LL, metritis, metabolic diseases, and displaced abomasums tended to significantly delay DIM at peak. Mastitis only after 100 DIM was associated with significantly earlier DIM at peak in LL. Increasing persistency was associated with low MAST2 and MAST1/2 in primiparous cows. None of the diseases studied was significantly related to persistency of the previous lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4424-4434
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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