Submitted to: Professional Animal Scientist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2003
Publication Date: 12/1/2003
Citation: FITZGERALD, A.C., LOOPER, M.L. 2003. INFLUENCE OF FEVER AND METABOLIC DISORDERS ON MILK YIELD AND REPRODUCTION IN POSTPARTUM COWS. JOURNAL OF DAIRY SCIENCE. 19:429-434.
Interpretive Summary: The transition period from non-lactating to lactating in dairy cattle is too often unsuccessful due to occurrence of metabolic disorders or fever. The ability of aspirin and other non-antibiotic treatments to counteract or prevent occurrence of these disorders was tested with dairy cows entering lactation. Cows with fever were orally administered a regiment of four aspirin boluses and one probiotic supplement. This non-antibiotic treatment prevented the recurrence of fever during the first seven days after calving in older cows but not first-calf cows and increased milk production. This information is of interest to extension personnel, dairy consultants, and dairy producers.
Technical Abstract: A field trial was conducted to monitor body temperature and identify metabolic disorders (MD) on 135 Holstein cows (42 primiparous and 93 multiparous) for 7 d postpartum (PP). Effects of fever and MD on reproductive performance and subsequent milk production (November through July) of cows were determined. Efficacy of a non-antibiotic treatment on the recurrence of fever during the 7 d PP period was investigated. Cows with fever during the first 7 d PP were orally administered a non-antibiotic regiment of four aspirin boluses and one probiotic supplement. This treatment was continued for two consecutive days if cows had persistent fever. Seventy-six percent of primiparous cows and 29% of multiparous cows had fever during the first 7 d PP. Cows with fever at any time during the first 7 d PP tended to have decreased milk yield during November, December, January, and March. Cows with both fever and MD had reduced overall milk yield compared with cows with only fever or only MD. Pregnancy rates were affected by a fever x MD interaction. Pregnancy rates at 90 d PP were 15, 33, 29 and 0% for cows with no fever or MD, fever only, MD only, or both fever and MD, respectively. Primiparous cows with fever on d 1 or 2 PP and treated with a non-antibiotic regime had recurring fever at least once during the next 5 d PP. A non-antibiotic treatment prevented the recurrence of fever during the PP period in multiparous but not primiparous cows. Fever and MD during the first 7 d PP decreased milk yield and reduced reproductive performance in Holstein cows.