Application of pre-partum feeding and social behaviour in predicting risk of developing metritis in crossbred cows

Livestock Production Management, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal 132 001, Haryana, India
Applied Animal Behaviour Science (Impact Factor: 1.69). 03/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.03.014


The present study reports the pre-partum behaviour of crossbred cows and the behavioural
markers to predict the risk of developing post-partum metritis in this species. Dry pregnant crossbred
cows (n=20) were observed continuously from three weeks before calving till the date of calving using
video cameras. Video recordings were analyzed and multiple observers were used to collect the
behavioural information. General activity patterns of feeding, drinking, lying and inactive standing
behaviour were studied. All the cows were followed up for health status till 21 days post-calving.
Uterine fluid was collected and using a score system the cows were designated as either metritic or
non-metritic (normal cows). Among the 20 experimental cows, eight developed post-partum metritis.
Differences in behavioural alteration between normal and metritic cows were analyzed by Mann-
Whitney rank sum test. A significant difference in pre-partum feeding time and number of feeding
bouts were observed between metritic and normal cows. The feeding time was significantly reduced by
25 min/d (P=0.041) during wk -2 and 40 min/d (P<0.001) during wk -1 in metritic cows compared to
normal cows. Metritic cows had lower number of feeding bouts compared to normal cows (2 bouts/d
during wk -2, P=0.01 and 2 bouts/d during wk -1, P<0.001). The metritic cows showed significantly
higher inactive standing time compared to the normal cows (38.5 min/d, P=0.016 during wk -2 and
89.5 min/d, P<0.001 during wk -1). However, there was no significant difference in lying behaviour
between metritic and normal cows. The metritic cows were socially sub-ordinate during pre-partum
period as they displaced other cows less frequently (15 vs. 18.5 displacements/d, P=0.038) and were
displaced more frequently (19 vs. 15.5 displacements/d, P=0.025) by others. Taken together, it may be
concluded from the results of present study that feeding time and feeding related displacements during
the week preceding calving can accurately be used to predict the risk of developing post-partum
metritis in crossbred cows.

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Available from: Tapas Kumar Patbandha, Sep 25, 2014
    • "The difference of means was considered as significant if probability was <0.05 and the results are presented as a mean AE s.e.m. Plasma metabolites that showed a significant (P < 0.05) difference between RFM and non-RFM cows were analysed by receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis to assess the critical threshold value (Patbandha et al. 2012, 2013). ROC curves analyse sensitivity in the vertical axis versus 100 – specificity in the horizontal axis, which indicates the area under curve (AUC). "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study assessed the peri-partum metabolic profile of Karan Fries (KF) crossbred (Holstein Friesian X Tharparkar) and Zebu (Sahiwal) cows in relation to expulsion of fetal membranes. Peripheral blood concentrations of glucose, total protein, total cholesterol, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) and beta-hydroxy butyric acid (BHBA) were determined (from 30 days before and 2 days after calving) in cows that expelled fetal membranes normally (n=13; 7 crossbred and 6 Zebu cows) and in cows that developed retention of fetal membranes (RFM; n=13; 7 crossbred and 6 Zebu cows). In both breeds, the cows that developed RFM had significantly lower concentrations of cholesterol, glucose and total protein, while the concentrations of NEFA, BHBA and BUN were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher compared to those cows that normally expelled the fetal membranes. In crossbred cows affected with RFM, the concentrations of NEFA increased significantly (p ≤ 0.05) from day 14 pre-partum to day 2 postpartum and the concentrations of BHBA increased from day 7 pre-partum to day 2 after calving. Similarly, in Zebu cows, NEFA and BHBA concentrations increased significantly (p ≤ 0.05) between day 5 pre-partum till day 2 postpartum in RFM cows. Using receiver operator characteristic analysis, we observed that the concentrations of NEFA and BHBA prior to calving were highly related to the RFM. It may be inferred that monitoring the levels of NEFA and BHBA during pre-partum period would help in identifying the cows at the risk of developing RFM.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Animal Production Science