Repeated ruminal acidosis challenges in lactating dairy cows at high and low risk for developing acidosis: feeding, ruminating, and lying behavior.
ABSTRACT An experiment was conducted to determine whether the susceptibility to ruminal acidosis, as defined through differences in days in milk (DIM), milk production level, and ration composition, influences cow feeding, ruminating, and lying behavior and whether these behaviors change during an acute bout of ruminal acidosis. Eight ruminally cannulated cows were assigned to 1 of 2 acidosis risk levels: low risk (LR, mid-lactation cows fed a 60:40 forage:concentrate ratio diet) or high risk (HR, early lactation cows fed a 45:55 forage:concentrate diet). As a result, diets were intentionally confounded with DIM and milk production to represent 2 different acidosis risk scenarios. Cows were exposed to an acidosis challenge in each of three 14-d periods. Each period consisted of 3 baseline days, a feed restriction day (restricting total mixed ration to 50% of ad libitum intake), an acidosis challenge day (1 h meal of 4 kg of ground barley/wheat before allocating the total mixed ration), and a recovery phase. Feeding, rumination, and standing/lying behavior were recorded for 2 baseline days, on the challenge day, and 1 and 4 d after the challenge day for each cow. Across the study, there were no differences in measures of standing, lying, or feeding behavior between the 2 groups of cows. The HR cows did, on average, spend less time ruminating (491 vs. 555 min/d) than the LR cows, resulting in a lesser percentage of observed cows ruminating across the day (44.6 vs. 48.1%). The acidosis challenge resulted in changes in behavior in all cows. Compared with the baseline, feeding time increased on the first day after the challenge (395 vs. 310 min/d), whereas lying time decreased (565 vs. 634 min/d). Rumination time decreased the first day following the challenge (436 min/d) relative to the baseline (533 min/d), but increased the following day (572 min/d). Fewer cows were observed to be ruminating at a given time on the first day following the challenge as compared with the baseline period. Despite this, on a herd level, numerous observations of the proportion of cows ruminating at any one time would need to be taken to accurately detect an acute bout of acidosis using changes in rumination behavior. Overall, these results suggest that risk of acidosis may have little overall effect on general behavior, with the exception of rumination. Furthermore, an acute bout of acidosis alters behavioral patterns of lactating dairy cows, particularly rumination behavior, and identification of these changes in behavior through repeated measurements may assist in the detection of an acidosis event within a herd.
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ABSTRACT: Subacute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA) corresponds to an imbalance between lactate-producing bacteria and lactate-using bacteria, which results in a change in ruminal pH associated with a prevalent consumption of rapidly fermentable carbohydrates. In our study, 216 primiparus and multiparus dairy cows were selected from 20 Italian intensive dairy herds and were divided into three groups based on the risk of SARA. All the dairy cows had high average milk production. After blood sampling, a complete blood gas analysis was performed. One-way ANOVA was performed to compare the three groups. O(2) Cont, PCO(2), blood pH, O(2)Hb, urinary pH, and rumen pH were significantly lower in cows with rumen pH < 5.5. These results indicate that blood gas analysis is a valuable tool to diagnose acidosis in dairy cows because it provides good assessment of acidosis while being less invasive than rumen pH analysis.Veterinary medicine international. 01/2010; 2010.
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ABSTRACT: The time that dairy cows spend lying down is an important measure of their welfare, and data loggers can be used to automatically monitor lying time on commercial farms. To determine how the number of days of sampling, parity, stage of lactation, and production level affect lying time, electronic data loggers were used to record lying time for 10 d consecutively, at 3 stages of lactation [early: when cows were at 10-40 d in milk (DIM), mid: 100-140 DIM, late: 200-240 DIM] of 96 Holstein cows in tiestalls (TS) and 127 in freestalls (FS). We calculated daily duration of lying, bout frequency, and mean bout duration. We observed complex interactions between parity and stage of lactation, which differed somewhat between tiestalls and freestalls. First-parity cows had higher bout frequency and shorter lying bouts than older cows but bout frequency decreased and mean bout duration increased as DIM increased. We found that individual cows were not consistent in time spent lying between early and mid lactation (Pearson coefficient, TS: r = 0.1, FS: r = 0.2), whereas cows seemed to be more consistent in time spent lying between mid and late lactation (TS: r = 0.7, FS: r = 0.3). For both TS and FS cows, daily milk production was significantly, but slightly negatively, correlated with lying time across the lactation (range, r: -0.2 to -0.4), whereas parity was slightly to moderately positively correlated with mean bout duration across the lactation (r: +0.2 to +0.6) and negatively with bout frequency (r: -0.2 to -0.5). To estimate how the duration of the time sample affected the estimates of lying time subsets of data subsets consisting of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 d per cow were created, and the relationship between the overall mean (based on 10 d) and the mean of each subset was tested by regression. For both TS and FS, lying time based on 4 d of sampling provided good estimates of the average 10-d estimate (90% of accuracy). Automated monitoring of lying time has potential as a measure of dairy cow welfare on commercial farms but cows differ greatly in lying time. To obtain a representative measure for the herd, it is necessary to sample cows based on their parity and stage of lactation but probably not milk production level.Journal of Dairy Science 09/2012; 95(9):4968-77. · 2.57 Impact Factor