ABSTRACT: In this study, a stochastic predictive model stimulating a constant infection pressure of Eimeria was used to estimate production outcome, economic, and effects of treatment decisions in a dairy herd of 100 cows. The intestinal parasite cause problems mainly in calves, and is known to have long term effects on the growth rate, and in severe cases can result in mortalities. Due to the inconspicuous nature of the parasite, the clinical signs and sub-clinical manifestations it may produce can be overlooked. Acquired data from literature and Estonian dairy farms were implemented in the SimHerd IV model to simulate three scenarios of symptomatic treatment: no calves treated (NT), default estimate of the current treatment strategy (DT), and all calves treated (AT). Effects of metaphylactic treatment were studied as a lowering of the infection pressure. Delay in the age for beginning of insemination of heifers was the effect with the largest economic impact on the gross margin, followed by calf mortality and reduction in growth rate. Large expenses were associated with the introduction of replacement heifers and feeding of heifers as a result of the delay in reaching a specific body weight at calving. Compared to the control scenarios, with no effects and treatments of Eimeria, dairy farmers were estimated to incur annual losses ranging 8-9% in the balanced income. Providing metaphylactic drugs resulted in an increased gross margin of 6-7%. Purchase of new heifers compensated for some production losses that would otherwise have enhanced expenses related to Eimeria. The simulation illustrates how effects of Eimeria infections can have long lasting impact on interacting management factors. It was concluded that all three simulated symptomatic treatment regimes provided only small economic benefits if they were applied alone and not in combination with lowering of infection pressure.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 05/2012; 106(3-4):258-65. · 2.05 Impact Factor