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OBJECTIVE To estimate the cost of a case of retained fetal membranes (RFM) for dairy herds in the United States.

DESIGN Deterministic computer-based spreadsheet analysis.

SAMPLE Inputs from published studies and reports.

PROCEDURES Economic losses attributable to RFM were direct (reduction in milk yield and longer interval until pregnancy) and indirect (increased risk of developing clinical disease and increased culling risk). Cost attributable to milk loss was calculated as the mean marginal loss of milk production for cows with RFM and cows with RFM complicated by metritis. Cost of the increased risk of developing clinical disease because of RFM was a product of the cost of each clinical disease and the risk of each clinical disease attributable to RFM. Cost attributable to reduced reproductive performance was a function of a longer interval until pregnancy, whereas cost for increased culling attributable to RFM was associated with the market value of cull cows and replacement heifers as well as herd turnover rate.

RESULTS Cost of a case of RFM determined by use of default inputs was $386 (reduction in milk yield, $287; increased time until pregnancy, $73; increased disease risk, $25; and increased culling risk, $1). Sensitivity analysis revealed that milk and feed prices were the most influential inputs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Cost of a case of RFM, including uncomplicated cases, was substantial and comparable to that for other common clinical diseases during the transition period. Preventive measures during the nonlactating period should be considered to minimize the incidence of RFM.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate the use of a handheld device for measurement of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration to identify prepartum dairy cattle at risk of developing hyperketonemia during the first week after parturition.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—210 prepartum dairy cows from 6 herds.

Procedures—A blood sample was collected from each cow 3 to 9 days before its expected calving date. β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration was immediately measured with a handheld device. Serum was harvested from the remaining sample and submitted to a laboratory for measurement of BHBA and nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations. β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration determined with the handheld device was compared with that determined by laboratory methods. The association between prepartum BHBA concentration and the development of hyperketonemia (BHBA concentration, ≥ 1.2 mmol/L) during the first week after parturition was determined. The agreement between prepartum BHBA and NEFA concentrations for identification of cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia was evaluated.

Results—β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration determined by the handheld device was moderately correlated with that determined by laboratory methods. Cows with a prepartum BHBA concentration ≥ 0.6 mmol/L were 2.2 times as likely to develop hyperketonemia within 1 week after parturition as were cows with a prepartum BHBA concentration < 0.6 mmol/L. There was substantial agreement between prepartum BHBA and NEFA concentrations for identification of cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated the handheld device was a valid tool for measurement of BHBA concentration in prepartum dairy cattle, and measurement of prepartum BHBA concentration may be helpful for identifying cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine the effects of administration of 1 dose of tulathromycin on the incidence of various diseases and growth, identify risk factors for slow growth, and determine the association of Mycoplasma bovis status with the incidence of otitis media in calves.

Design—Randomized controlled trial and cross-sectional study.

Animals—788 dairy heifer calves (median age, 3 days).

Procedures—Calves received tulathromycin or a saline (0.9% NaCl) solution control treatment once. Calves were observed daily for 8 weeks by farm staff to detect diseases. Nasal swab specimens were collected from some calves for Mycoplasma spp culture.

Results—Tulathromycin-treated calves had significantly lower odds of developing otitis media (OR, 0.41; 95% confidence interval, 0.58 to 0.82) versus control calves. Control calves had significantly higher odds of developing diarrhea (OR, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 2.6) versus tulathromycin-treated calves. Control calves and those with failure of passive transfer, fever, lameness, respiratory tract disease, or diarrhea had significantly lower average daily gain versus other calves. Seventeen of the 66 (26%) calves that underwent repeated testing had positive Mycoplasma spp culture results, but positive results were not associated with otitis media. One of 42 calves with otitis media tested for Mycoplasma spp had positive results, and 1 of 43 age-matched calves without otitis media had positive results.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tulathromycin-treated calves in this study had a lower incidence of diarrhea and otitis media versus control calves. Various diseases had negative effects on average daily gain. Mycoplasma bovis status was not associated with otitis media in calves.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To investigate the association of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) or vaccination with serologic response in calves.

ANIMALS 94 Holstein calves.

PROCEDURES To assess the association between BRD and antibody titers, 38 calves < 3 months old that were treated for BRD were matched with 38 untreated calves. To investigate the effect of vaccination on antibody titers, 24 calves were randomly assigned to be vaccinated against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), bovine viral diarrhea virus types 1 and 2, bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV1), and parainfluenza virus type 3 at 2 weeks of age (n = 6), 5 weeks of age (6), and both 2 and 5 weeks of age (6) or were assigned to be unvaccinated controls (6). Blood samples were obtained at I, 2, 5, and 12 weeks for determination of serum neutralization antibody titers against the vaccine viruses, bovine coronavirus, and Mannheimia haemolytica. Antibody rates of decay were calculated.

RESULTS Calves with initial antibody titers against BRSV < 1:64 that were treated for BRD had a slower rate of anti-BRSV antibody decay than did similar calves that were not treated for BRD. Calves with high initial antibody titers against BRSV and BHV1 had lower odds of BRD than did calves with low initial antibody titers against those 2 pathogens. Vaccination at 2 or 5 weeks of age had no effect on the rate of antibody decay.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Clinical BRD and the serologic response of dairy calves were associated with initial antibody titers against BRSV and BHV1. Serologic or clinical responses to viral exposure may differ in calves with low passive immunity.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To identify serum biochemical and hematologic variables, as measured in the week before parturition, that predict postpartum retention of the placenta (RP) in dairy cows.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—1,038 cows in 20 commercial dairy herds.

Procedures—Serum concentrations of fatty acids (FAs), β-hydroxybutyrate, cholesterol, glucose, urea, and calcium and blood leukocyte, neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, and eosinophil counts were determined. These variables were evaluated for an association with development of RP by use of a multivariate logistic regression model. Parity, season of par-turition, existence of twins or dystocia, body condition score, and vitamin E treatment were included in the model as covariates.

Results—High serum concentrations of cholesterol and FAs were associated with an increased odds of RP. There was a 5% relative increase in the odds of RP for each 0.1 mmol/L increase in cholesterol or FAs concentration in the week before parturition. Season of parturition and twinning were also identified as risk factors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These associations indicated that prepartum energy metabolism contributes to the development of RP. Serum concentrations of cholesterol and FAs may be useful to identify cows with a metabolic abnormality or energy imbalance that might predispose them to RP and should be interpreted in conjunction with clinical risk factors such as twinning, dystocia, or parturient paresis.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association