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Comparison of the calving-to-conception interval in dairy cows with different degrees of lameness during the prebreeding postpartum period

Jorge A. HernandezDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

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Eduardo J. GarbarinoDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

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Jan K. ShearerDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

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Carlos A. RiscoDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

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William W. ThatcherDepartment of Animal Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

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Abstract

Objective—To compare calving-to-conception intervals among cows classified as nonlame, moderately lame, or lame during the prebreeding postpartum period and to examine the relationship between severity of lameness and time to conception in cows that were classified as lame.

Design—Longitudinal study.

Animals—499 Holstein cows.

Procedure—Cows in the prebreeding postpartum period were classified as nonlame, moderately lame, or lame by use of a 6-point locomotion scoring system. Time to conception (days) was compared among cows. A low, medium, or high cumulative locomotion score was assigned to lame cows, and time to conception among those cows was compared. Cows classified as lame were examined on a tilt table for diagnosis and treatment of lameness.

Results—154 (31%), 214 (43%), and 131 (26%) cows were classified as nonlame, moderately lame, and lame, respectively. Most cows classified as lame had laminitis (54%) or disorders of the claw (33%). Median time to conception was 36 to 50 days longer in lame cows than in nonlame cows. Among lame cows, the median time to conception was 66 days longer in cows with high cumulative locomotion scores than in cows with low scores.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Nonlame cows became pregnant more quickly than lame cows. Lame cows with low cumulative locomotion scores during the prebreeding postpartum period became pregnant sooner than lame cows with high scores. Early diagnosis and intervention may mitigate the effects of lameness and improve reproductive performance in lame dairy cows. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1284–1291)

Abstract

Objective—To compare calving-to-conception intervals among cows classified as nonlame, moderately lame, or lame during the prebreeding postpartum period and to examine the relationship between severity of lameness and time to conception in cows that were classified as lame.

Design—Longitudinal study.

Animals—499 Holstein cows.

Procedure—Cows in the prebreeding postpartum period were classified as nonlame, moderately lame, or lame by use of a 6-point locomotion scoring system. Time to conception (days) was compared among cows. A low, medium, or high cumulative locomotion score was assigned to lame cows, and time to conception among those cows was compared. Cows classified as lame were examined on a tilt table for diagnosis and treatment of lameness.

Results—154 (31%), 214 (43%), and 131 (26%) cows were classified as nonlame, moderately lame, and lame, respectively. Most cows classified as lame had laminitis (54%) or disorders of the claw (33%). Median time to conception was 36 to 50 days longer in lame cows than in nonlame cows. Among lame cows, the median time to conception was 66 days longer in cows with high cumulative locomotion scores than in cows with low scores.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Nonlame cows became pregnant more quickly than lame cows. Lame cows with low cumulative locomotion scores during the prebreeding postpartum period became pregnant sooner than lame cows with high scores. Early diagnosis and intervention may mitigate the effects of lameness and improve reproductive performance in lame dairy cows. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1284–1291)