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The association between calfhood bovine respiratory disease complex and subsequent departure from the herd, milk production, and reproduction in dairy cattle

Aaron P. SchafferDepartment of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Robert L. LarsonDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Natalia CernicchiaroDepartment of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Gregg A. HanzlicekDepartment of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Steven J. BartleDepartment of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Daniel U. ThomsonDepartment of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe the frequency of calfhood producer-identified bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) in Holstein replacement heifers on 1 large farm and determine associations between development of BRDC at ≤ 120 days of age (BRDC120) with milk production estimate, calving interval, and risk of departure from the herd (DFH).

DESIGN Retrospective, observational study.

ANIMALS 14,024 Holstein heifer calves born on 1 farm.

PROCEDURES Data were obtained from herd management records. Cox proportional hazard and generalized linear mixed-effects models were used to assess associations for variables of interest (BRDC120 status, demographic data, and management factors) with DFH, milk production estimate, and calving interval.

RESULTS Except for the year 2007, animals identified as having BRDC120 were 1.62 to 4.98 times as likely to leave the herd before first calving, compared with those that did not have this designation. Calves identified as having BRDC prior to weaning were 2.62 times as likely to have DFH before first calving as those classified as developing BRDC after weaning. Cows identified as having BRDC120 were 1.28 times as likely to have DFH between the first and second calving as were other cows. The BRDC120 designation was associated with a 233-kg (513-lb) lower 305-day mature equivalent value for first lactation milk production, but was not associated with longer or shorter calving intervals at maturity.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dairy cattle identified as having BRDC120 had increased risk of DFH before the first or second calving and lower first-lactation milk production estimates, compared with results for cattle without this finding. Further investigation of these associations is warranted.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe the frequency of calfhood producer-identified bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) in Holstein replacement heifers on 1 large farm and determine associations between development of BRDC at ≤ 120 days of age (BRDC120) with milk production estimate, calving interval, and risk of departure from the herd (DFH).

DESIGN Retrospective, observational study.

ANIMALS 14,024 Holstein heifer calves born on 1 farm.

PROCEDURES Data were obtained from herd management records. Cox proportional hazard and generalized linear mixed-effects models were used to assess associations for variables of interest (BRDC120 status, demographic data, and management factors) with DFH, milk production estimate, and calving interval.

RESULTS Except for the year 2007, animals identified as having BRDC120 were 1.62 to 4.98 times as likely to leave the herd before first calving, compared with those that did not have this designation. Calves identified as having BRDC prior to weaning were 2.62 times as likely to have DFH before first calving as those classified as developing BRDC after weaning. Cows identified as having BRDC120 were 1.28 times as likely to have DFH between the first and second calving as were other cows. The BRDC120 designation was associated with a 233-kg (513-lb) lower 305-day mature equivalent value for first lactation milk production, but was not associated with longer or shorter calving intervals at maturity.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dairy cattle identified as having BRDC120 had increased risk of DFH before the first or second calving and lower first-lactation milk production estimates, compared with results for cattle without this finding. Further investigation of these associations is warranted.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Thomson (dthomson@vet.ksu.edu).