A little herd of cute Holstein calves on the grass

Trace minerals injection increases immunity in young dairy calves

Alvaro Garcia

Diarrhea and respiratory disease are the two leading death losses in un-weaned heifer calves. Respiratory problems have increased in the last 20 years, causing more than 20% percent of all dairy calf losses. Heifers that survive continue to perform poorly as adult cows.

Calf deaths within the first 48 hours of life are significant and greatly influenced by nutrition, environment, and management. One of the most prevalent reason for these death losses is the inadequate passive transfer of immunity through colostrum received from the dam. Current guidelines suggest calves should receive 3–4 quarts of high-quality colostrum within 1 hour of birth and 3 additional quarts within the next 12 hours.

If colostrum ingestion is inadequate, esophageal feeders can be used making sure that 3–4 quarts are administered within 1 hour of birth. Pooling colostrum is also becoming popular with large farms because it increases the immune competence of the calves (or their ability to respond to a more diverse pool of pathogens).

Have you fed your calf enough colostrum?

One way to find out if colostrum has supplied adequate amounts of immunoglobulins (IgG) is to measure either IgG directly or serum total protein in blood serum. Serum total protein measured with a refractometer is highly correlated with serum IgG levels. Measuring serum total protein in a group of calves is more meaningful than individual readings; at least 80% of a group of calves should have serum protein levels of 5.5 g/dL or higher.

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Importance of timely euthanasia in dairy farming

Andrés Haro & Fernando Diaz

Farmers understand dairy cow well-being is critical to optimize their performance. When cows’ health is compromised by disease or trauma that deteriorates their well-being, and causes pain and suffering that cannot be alleviated by treatment, culling through timely euthanasia should be recommended

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Therapeutic efficacy of rumen fluid

Alvaro Garcia

Larger dairies oftentimes have rumen fluid donor cows (either rumen-cannulated or through rumen pumps) to transfer rumen fluid and “jump-start’ the digestive system of a cow undergoing digestive and/or metabolic problems. Cows suffering from ketosis, anorexia and several types of indigestion including acidosis, benefit from receiving fresh rumen fluid teeming in fully functional rumen microorganisms.

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Associations of postpartum health disorders with reproductive performance in dairy cows

Alvaro Garcia

According to past research up to 70% of lactating dairy cows develop metabolic and/or infectious diseases during the early post calving period, regardless of production, breed or management. One area of concern has been the negative association between the incidence of health disorders around calving and reproductive performance.

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Determination of flunixin residues in milk following transdermal administration

Lucas Pantaleon

Flunixin meglumine is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). In the US it is the most commonly prescribed analgesic for cattle. An injectable flunixin formulation has been available in the US market labeled for intravenous treatment of dairy cattle with fever associated with bovine respiratory disease and endotoxic mastitis, and the treatment of endotoxemia associated with coliform mastitis.

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Long-term effects of clinical diseases on fresh cows

Fernando Diaz

Most of the metabolic problems of the dairy cow happen during the first two weeks of lactation. In a review of several experiments, researchers found that approximately one out of three fresh cows have at least one clinical disease during the first 3 weeks of lactation. Consequently, culling rate increases during early lactation. It has been reported nearly 25% of the cows that leave herds do so during the first 60 days in milk (DIM).

A recent study conducted in a 5,000-cow dairy from Florida evaluated the effects of clinical diseases during the fresh period (21 DEL) on milk production, reproduction, and culling rate of Holstein cows through the entire lactation (305 DIM).

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Checking insulin levels in fresh cows

Checking insulin levels in fresh cows

Fernando Díaz

Insulin is an anabolic hormone that allows body cells to absorb glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids circulating in the blood and increases the synthesis of fat and protein. At the beginning of lactation insulin levels in blood are very low to support milk production. Moreover, during this period, adipose and muscle tissues reduce their sensitivity to this hormone reducing uptake of glucose to prioritize the use of glucose for milk production in the mammary gland. Thus, insulin concentration and insulin resistance affect milk production and negative energy balance in early lactation cows.

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