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Assessing the effects of weekly preweaning health scores on dairy calf mortality and productivity parameters: cohort study.

Abstract A longitudinal cohort study was conducted to follow the health of 787 calves from one UK dairy farm over a two-and-a-half-year period. Weekly health scores were gathered using a modified version of the Wisconsin Calf Scoring system (which did not record ear position) until calves were eight weeks of age, combined with data on colostral passive transfer, mortality, age at first conception and 305-day milk yield. High morbidity levels were detected, with 87 per cent of calves experiencing at least one clinically significant event (diarrhoea, pyrexia, pneumonia, nasal or ocular discharge, navel ill or joint ill). High rectal temperature, diarrhoea and a cough were the most prevalent findings. The effect of total protein levels was significantly associated with the development of pyrexia as a preweaning calf (P<0.01), but no other clinical health scores. The majority of moribund calves had just one clinically severe clinical sign detected at each of the weekly recordings. The overall mortality rate was 21.5 per cent up to 14 months of age, with 12.7 per cent of calves dying during the preweaning period. However, most calves that died were not recorded as having experienced a severe clinical sign in the time between birth and death, indicating a limitation in weekly calf scoring in detecting acute disease leading to death. Therefore, more frequent calf scoring or use of technology for continuous calf monitoring on farms is required to reduce mortality on farms with high disease incidence rates.
PMID
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Authors

Mayor MeshTerms
Keywords

calves

clinical practice

husbandry

Journal Title the veterinary record
Publication Year Start




PMID- 28780531
OWN - NLM
STAT- Publisher
DA  - 20170806
LR  - 20170806
IS  - 2042-7670 (Electronic)
IS  - 0042-4900 (Linking)
DP  - 2017 Aug 05
TI  - Assessing the effects of weekly preweaning health scores on dairy calf mortality 
      and productivity parameters: cohort study.
LID - vetrec-2016-104197 [pii]
LID - 10.1136/vr.104197 [doi]
AB  - A longitudinal cohort study was conducted to follow the health of 787 calves from
      one UK dairy farm over a two-and-a-half-year period. Weekly health scores were
      gathered using a modified version of the Wisconsin Calf Scoring system (which did
      not record ear position) until calves were eight weeks of age, combined with data
      on colostral passive transfer, mortality, age at first conception and 305-day
      milk yield. High morbidity levels were detected, with 87 per cent of calves
      experiencing at least one clinically significant event (diarrhoea, pyrexia,
      pneumonia, nasal or ocular discharge, navel ill or joint ill). High rectal
      temperature, diarrhoea and a cough were the most prevalent findings. The effect
      of total protein levels was significantly associated with the development of
      pyrexia as a preweaning calf (P&lt;0.01), but no other clinical health scores. The
      majority of moribund calves had just one clinically severe clinical sign detected
      at each of the weekly recordings. The overall mortality rate was 21.5 per cent up
      to 14 months of age, with 12.7 per cent of calves dying during the preweaning
      period. However, most calves that died were not recorded as having experienced a 
      severe clinical sign in the time between birth and death, indicating a limitation
      in weekly calf scoring in detecting acute disease leading to death. Therefore,
      more frequent calf scoring or use of technology for continuous calf monitoring on
      farms is required to reduce mortality on farms with high disease incidence rates.
CI  - (c) British Veterinary Association (unless otherwise stated in the text of the
      article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless
      otherwise expressly granted.
FAU - Mahendran, Sophie Anne
AU  - Mahendran SA
AD  - Farm Animal Health and Production Group, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms,
      UK.
FAU - Booth, Richard
AU  - Booth R
AD  - Department of Pathology and Infectious Disease, Royal Veterinary College, North
      Mymms, UK.
FAU - Beekhuis, Lies
AU  - Beekhuis L
AD  - Cardigan Farm Animal and Equine Department, Carmarthen Veterinary Centre,
      Carmarthen, UK.
FAU - Manning, Al
AU  - Manning A
AD  - Farm Animal Health and Production Group, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms,
      UK.
FAU - Blackmore, Tania
AU  - Blackmore T
AD  - Department of Pathology and Infectious Disease, Royal Veterinary College, North
      Mymms, UK.
FAU - Vanhoudt, Arne
AU  - Vanhoudt A
AD  - Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht
      University, Utrecht, Netherlands.
FAU - Bell, Nick
AU  - Bell N
AD  - Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.
LA  - eng
PT  - Journal Article
DEP - 20170805
PL  - England
TA  - Vet Rec
JT  - The Veterinary record
JID - 0031164
OTO - NOTNLM
OT  - calves
OT  - clinical practice
OT  - husbandry
COI - Competing interests: None declared.
EDAT- 2017/08/07 06:00
MHDA- 2017/08/07 06:00
CRDT- 2017/08/07 06:00
PHST- 2016/11/04 [received]
PHST- 2017/05/10 [revised]
PHST- 2017/06/04 [accepted]
AID - vr.104197 [pii]
AID - 10.1136/vr.104197 [doi]
PST - aheadofprint
SO  - Vet Rec. 2017 Aug 5. pii: vetrec-2016-104197. doi: 10.1136/vr.104197.