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The temperature and pH of the contents of the reticulorumen of cattle can be monitored using sensors placed in a rumen bolus. In this research communication we test the hypothesis that these measurements can be used as a predictor of the likelihood of reproductive success. The study was performed on 20 Lithuanian Black and White dairy cows. The pH and temperature of the contents of their reticulorumens were measured using boluses manufactured for animal care (smaXtec animal care technology®). The data from reticulorumen were recording at 1 to 7 and 7 to 56 d post calving and then post insemination (on average 60 ± 12) until 170 d after calving. The pregnancies were tested with ‘Easy scan’ ultrasound 30–35 d after insemination. Those cows which were pregnant were assigned to the PD+ group (n = 12), and those which were not pregnant – assigned to the PD− group (n = 8). Rumen pH was initially lower in the PD+ group but then higher than in PD−, but temperature did not differ between the groups until after conception. We can conclude that cows with disturbed rumen metabolism (with low rumen pH) are less likely to conceive. The measurements of reticuloruminal pH may be useful as a predictor of the likelihood of reproductive success, but more research is needed before practical application.
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Reticulorumen temperature and pH as indicators of the likelihood of
reproductive success
Ramūnas Antanaitis
1
*, Vida Juozaitienė
2
, Arūnas Rutkauskas
1
, Mindaugas Televičius
1
and
IndrėStasiulevičiūtė
1
1
Large Animal Clinic, Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilžės str. 18, Kaunas, Lithuania
2
Department of Animal Breeding and Nutrition, Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilžės str. 18, Kaunas,
Lithuania
Received 5 December 2016; accepted for publication 30 December 2017
The temperature and pH of the contents of the reticulorumen of cattle can be monitored using
sensors placed in a rumen bolus. In this research communication we test the hypothesis that
these measurements can be used as a predictor of the likelihood of reproductive success. The
study was performed on 20 Lithuanian Black and White dairy cows. The pH and temperature of
the contents of their reticulorumens were measured using boluses manufactured for animal care
(smaXtec animal care technology®). The data from reticulorumen were recording at 1 to 7 and 7
to 56 d post calving and then post insemination (on average 60 ± 12) until 170 d after calving.
The pregnancies were tested with Easy scanultrasound 3035 d after insemination. Those
cows which were pregnant were assigned to the PD+ group (n= 12), and those which were not
pregnant assigned to the PDgroup (n= 8). Rumen pH was initially lower in the PD+ group
but then higher than in PD, but temperature did not differ between the groups until after concep-
tion. We can conclude that cows with disturbed rumen metabolism (with low rumen pH) are less
likely to conceive. The measurements of reticuloruminal pH may be useful as a predictor of the
likelihood of reproductive success, but more research is needed before practical application.
Keywords: Cows, rumen, pH, temperature, pregnancy.
Fertility in dairy cows has declined over the past five
decades as milk production per cow has increased. Many
hypotheses have been proposed to explain this, including
issues of genetics, physiology, nutrition and management,
and these factors have been investigated at the animal,
organ and cellular level at critical time points during the
productive life of dairy cows (Walsh et al. 2011).
Continuous monitoring of the reticuloruminal pH is
advantageous due to the possibility of diurnal recording.
Techniques for the continuous measurement of ruminal
pH were used for a series of scientific investigations
(Alzahal et al. 2008). In order to obtain the collected data,
a memory chip either has to be removed via the rumen, or
the data is transmitted by a cable to an external unit,
which is fixed to the animal (Alzahal et al. 2008).
Subacute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA) corresponds to an
imbalance between lactate-producing bacteria and
lactate-using bacteria, which results in a change in the
ruminal pH associated with the consumption of rapidly fer-
mentable carbohydrates. The susceptibility of dairy cows to
SARA seems to be higher for cows in early lactation, prob-
ably due to the instability of the bacterial population
(Devries et al. 2009). This disequilibrium in the microbiota
is believed to be due to a change in the rumen pH, related
to the consumption of rapidly fermentable carbohydrates
(Devries et al. 2009). Usually, the rumen pH threshold
below which acidosis occurs is 5·5 (Dorigo et al. 2009).
There is a close relationship between the rumen pH and
blood. Various analyses of blood, urine, faeces, and milk
have been considered and evaluated for the purpose of
diagnosing SARA (Devries et al. 2009), but the results of
these studies are conflicting. Reversible decreases in
ruminal contractions, faecal consistency, ruminal acetate
and acetate to propionate ratio, milk fat content, and milk
fat to milk protein ratio were also observed, all of which
have been associated with SARA (Dorigo et al. 2009).
Clinical rumen acidosis is typically associated with fertil-
ity problems, but due to the difficulty in diagnosis the same
cannot be assumed for SARA. However, low ruminal pH will
in itself have negative consequences in the individual such
*For correspondence; e-mail: ramunas.antanaitis@lsmuni.lt
Journal of Dairy Research (2018) 85 2326. ©Hannah Dairy Research Foundation 2018
doi:10.1017/S0022029918000018
23
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as laminitis and reduction in feed intake, and it is uncertain
what the consequences of low ruminal pH are on reproduct-
ive performance (Kleen & Cannizzo, 2012). According to
Inchaisri et al. (2013), low ruminal pH was associated with
a high risk of non-conception at first insemination. In this
research communication we make the assumption that
cows with disturbed rumen metabolism are less likely to
conceive, and we test the hypothesis that measurements of
retuculoruminal pH and temperature can be used as a pre-
dictor of the likelihood of reproductive success.
Materials and methods
The study was performed on 20 multiparous Lithuanian
Black and White dairy cows from a herd of 550 cows. The
experimental cows were kept in a uniform environment
and received a uniform ration of feed suitable for the stage
of lactation. They had an average yield of 30 (±3) kg/d.
Before the study, the cows selected were examined accord-
ing to a general clinical examination plan, and were com-
pletely healthy. Clinical signs of acidosis (diarrhoea, loss
of appetite, and weak rumination (on average, 3 times/2
min) were not found. All cows were clinically healthy
throughout the study. The average somatic cell concentra-
tion in the milk of the cows studied was about 250 (±32)
thousand/ml, and the milk urea was 25 (±4) mg/%. The
pH and temperature of the contents of their reticulorumens
were measured using specific smaXtec boluses manufac-
tured for animal care. smaXtec animal care technology®
enables the continuous real-time display of ruminal pH
and temperature data. According to the directions of the
manufacturer, the boluses were inserted into the reticuloru-
mens with the help of a specific tool. The data was measured
with the help of specific antennas (smaXtec animal care
technology®). For monitoring the reticuloruminal pH, an
indwelling and wireless data transmitting system (smaXtec
animal care GmbH, Graz, Austria) was used. The data col-
lected was transmitted using the ISM-Band (433 MHz).
The system was controlled by a microprocessor. The data
(pH and temperature) were collected by means of an ana-
logue to digital converter (A/D converter) and stored in an
external memory chip. Due to its dimensions (length: 12
cm; width: 3·5 cm; weight: 210 g), this indwelling system
can be orally administered to an adult cow, and it is
shock-proof and resistant to rumen fluid. Calibration of the
pH-probes was performed using pH 4 and pH 7 buffer solu-
tions at the beginning of the experiment. The data from reti-
culorumen were recording at following intervals: 1 to 7 and
7to56dpostpartum and then post insemination (on
average 60 ± 12) until 170 d after calving.
Oestrus was identified with specific indicators of heat and
the animal was considered to be in oestrus when she exhib-
ited one or more of the following: mucous discharge, rest-
lessness and alertness, standing to be mounted, tail
raising, congestion of vulval mucous membrane, uterine
Table 1. Analysis of reticulorumen content pH and temperature in different periods
Days after calving
pH Temperature°C
PD+ PDPD+ PD
17 5·97 ± 0·27 6·23 ± 0·30** 38·03 ± 1·73 38·34 ± 1·50
756 5·95 ± 0·24 5·853 ± 0·21*** 38·83 ± 1·32 39·07 ± 1·27
Post-insemination 170 6·18 ± 0·40 6·10 ± 0·25** 38·75 ± 1·42 39·10 ± 1·11**
**P< 0·01, *** P< 0·001.
Fig. 1. Reticulorumen content pH during the investigation (PD+ pregnant at first insemination, PDnon pregnant at first insemination).
24 R Antanaitis and others
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tone. The uterine tone was observed by rectal palpation.
After 12 h from the beginning of the oestrus, the cows
were inseminatad. The pregnancies were tested with Easy
scanultrasound after 3035 d post-insemination. Those
cows which were pregnant were assigned to the PD+
group (n= 12) and those which were not pregnant, were
assigned to the PDgroup (n= 8). All the data were
obtained by smaXtec messenger® computer software.
Descriptive statistic (mean ± standard deviation),
Pearsons correlation and linear regression analysis were
calculated by the SPSS statistical package (SPSS for
Windows 15·0, SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA, 2006). The
data were considered reliable from the statistical point of
view, when P< 0·05.
Results and discussion
In the PD+ group, the average of the reticulorumen pH
was consistently higher than PDexcept for the period 1
to 7 d postpartum, when it was significantly lower. In the
PD+ group on 7 to 56 d postpartum and post insemination
till 170 d the pH difference was statistically significant
(Table 1,Fig. 1). Regression analysis showed that the pH
of the PDhad a tendency to decrease throughout the
study whereas the opposite was true of the PD+ during
the first week postpartum (Table 2). According to
Inchaisri et al. (2013) a decrease of ruminal pH below a
given threshold value reduces the fertility. Low ruminal
pH could result in death and lysis of Gram-negative bac-
teria in rumen and hence increase lipopolysaccharides
which could trigger a higher level of systemic inflammatory
markers, such as acute phase protein serum amyloid A,
cytokines, and haptoglobin that exceed a physiological
level (Khafipour et al. 2009). Additionally, some studies
suggest that a ruminal pH depression alone is not enough
to result in the clinical signs related to SARA. Many
cases of SARA may not be detected, as the current field
diagnosis of SARA is not clearly defined and depends
either on ruminal pH point measurements, which are
invasive, and due to fluctuations in pH, are not very
accurate or sensitive for the diagnosis of a longer lasting
pH depression indicative of SARA, or on continuous mea-
surements which require costly equipment, and
are primarily suited for research purposes (Devries et al.
2009).
Rumen temperature was not different between PD+ and
PDgroups prior to conception. In the PD+ group, the
average reticulorumen temperature in the period post
insemination till 170 d postpartum was consistently higher
than PD(P< 0·05) (Table 1). Temperature changes
across time were small apart from an increase in the first
7dpostpartum in the PDgroup (Table 2).
We observed a negative correlation between the pH of
the contents of the abomasum and rumen temperature.
The increase in the acidity (decrease of pH) of the contents
of the reticulorumen increases its temperature and also
increases the temperature of the contents of the abomasum.
At oestrus the reticulorumen pH increased (on average
6·22 ± 0·2), but this difference was not significant. The
average reticulorumen content temperature during oestrus
was increased to 40·2 ± 0·25 °C (P< 0·05). Ruminal tem-
perature decreased the day before parturition and increased
at oestrus in spring-calving beef cows and has a potential
use as a predictor of parturition and oestrus (Cooper-Prado
et al. 2011). In other work (Suthar et al. 2011) diurnal tem-
perature rhythms were similar before and after oestrus, but
vaginal temperature before oestrus (d 11 and 12) was
slightly (0·1 °C) higher, compared with the post-ovulation
period. As a result, automated heat detection systems
have been developed. Currently available tools for esturs
detection are automated detectors of standing heat, activ-
ity-meters and automated in-line systems measuring milk
progesterone. Camera-software systems and the monitoring
of body temperature are also being developed (Saint-Dizier
& ChastantMaillard, 2012).
We can conclude that cows with disturbed rumen metab-
olism (with low rumen pH) are less likely to conceive. The
measurements of reticuloruminal pH (and perhaps tempera-
ture) can be useful as a predictor of the likelihood of repro-
ductive success, but more research is needed before
practical application.
References
Alzahal O, Kebreab E, France J, Froetschel M & McBride BW 2008 Ruminal
temperature may aid in the detection of subacute ruminal acidosis.
Journal of Dairy Science 91 202207
Table 2. Equations of linear regression
Days after calving
pH Temperature°C
PD+ PDPD+ PD
17y= 0·0032x+ 5·9598,
R
2
= 0·1891
y=0·014x+ 6·2807,
R
2
= 0·3053
y= 0·1075x+ 37·663,
R
2
= 0·0718
y= 0·5161x+ 36·531,
R
2
= 0·8587
756 y=0·0052x+ 6·0769,
R
2
= 0·6314
y=0·0077x+ 6·0447,
R
2
= 0·8663
y= 0·0018x+ 38·782,
R
2
= 0·0014
y= 0·0083x+ 38·863,
R
2
= 0·0321
Post-insemination 170 y=0·006x+ 6·3471,
R
2
= 0·6766
y=0·0057x+ 6·417,
R
2
= 0·6669
y=0·0092x+ 39·136,
R
2
= 0·0736
y=0·0041x+ 39·281,
R
2
= 0·0211
PD+, pregnant at first insemination; PD, non pregnant at first insemination.
Reticulorumen pH as predictor of reproductive success 25
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... Over the last few decades, there has been a dramatic decrease in dairy cows' fertility rate due to various preventable causes [10] (18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27). The reticuloruminal pH data can also be used to predict the reproductive health of livestock [9] (pp. [23][24][25][26]. ...
... Therefore, using reticuloruminal pH is a great predictor of a dairy cow's reproductive success. However, more studies on the role of reticuloruminal pH in determining cow's reproductive health are needed [9] (pp. [23][24][25][26]. ...
... Arguably, low pH in the reticulorumen increases the temperature of the reticulorumen and obamasum. From the study, the average temperature of the reticulorumen during post insemination till 170 d was considerably high than in non-pregnant cows [9] (pp. [23][24][25][26]. ...
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Full-text available
We hypothesized possibility that inline registered reticulorumen pH can be as biomarker of cows reproduction and health status. Aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of reticulorumen pH with biomarkers from automatic milking system (AMS) and some blood parameters and determinate reticulorumen pH as biomarker of cows reproduction and health status. According to cows reproductive status the cows were classified as belonging to the following four groups: 15-30 d. postpartum; 1-34 d. after insemination; 35 d. after insemination (non-pregnant); 35 d. after insemination (pregnant). According reticulorumen pH assay experimental animals were divided into four classes: 1) pH<6.22 (5.3% of cows), 2) pH - 6.22-6.42 (42.1% of cows), 3) pH - 6.42-6.62 (21.1% of cows), 4) pH >6.62 (10.5% of cows). Rumination time, body weight, milk yield, milk fat – protein ratio, milk lactose, milk somatic cell count (SCC), milk electrical conductivity of all quarters of udder were registered with the help of Lely Astronaut® A3 milking robots. The pH, temperature of the contents of cow reticulorumens and cow activity were measured using specific smaX-tec boluses. Blood gas parameters were analyzed using a blood gas analyzer (EPOC, Canada). We found that pregnant cows has higher reticulorumen pH during insemination time, comparing with non-pregnant. Cows with lower reticulorumen pH has lowest milk fat – protein ratio, and lactose concentration, and highest SCC. Cows with lowest reticulorumen pH has lowest blood pH. With increase reticulorumen pH, increases blood potasium and hematocrit, decreases CO2, saturation and sodium.
... According to our past reports, measurements of reticuloruminal pH may be useful as a predictor of the likelihood of reproductive success (Antanaitis et al. 2018). Real-time observation of temperature and pH levels in the reticulorumen in fresh dairy cows allows the evaluation of the risk of SARA and provides the opportunity to determine the prophylactic effect of these capsules (Antanaitis et al. 2019). ...
... The temperature and pH of the contents of the reticulorumen of cattle can be monitored using sensors placed in a rumen bolus (Antanaitis et al. 2018). The measurements of reticuloruminal pH may be useful as a predictor of the likelihood of reproductive success (Antanaitis et al. 2018). ...
... The temperature and pH of the contents of the reticulorumen of cattle can be monitored using sensors placed in a rumen bolus (Antanaitis et al. 2018). The measurements of reticuloruminal pH may be useful as a predictor of the likelihood of reproductive success (Antanaitis et al. 2018). The aim of the present investigation was to determine if reticulorumen pH, temperature and cow activity registered before calving can serve as indicators of diseases after calving. ...
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The aim of this study was to determine if reticulorumen ph, temperature and cow activity registered before calving can serve as indicators of diseases after calving.The cows were selected according to those fitting the profile of having had two or more lactations (on average 2.9±0.13 lactations), from 60 to 0 days before and the first 30 days after calving, and being clinically healthy. The clinical examination (identification of diseases after calving) was performed from 60 days before calving to 60 days after calving. Diseases after calving were diagnosed based on clinical symptoms specific to these diseases. The pH and temperature of the contents of the cow reticulorumens and cow activity were measured using specific smaX-tec boluses manufactured for animal care.We found that the highest pH and temperature before calving can serve as biomarkers of healthy cows after calving. The lowest reticulum temperature before calving can serve as an indicator of MF after calving. A positive correlation of reticulum pH and temperature before calving can serve as biomarkers of PR. Decreasing cow activity before calving can serve as an indicator of diseases after calving. For calving prognosis, temperature of the reticulorumen can be used; it decreased 6-7 days before calving.
... Rerticulorumen pH (RpH) measurement is a relatively fast indicator for describing the performance of rumen ecosystem and its ability to utilize fiber, also to prevent animal diseases (Antanaitis et al. 2018, Denwood et al. 2018. The availability of continuously monitored data from intraruminal boluses gives new opportunities for characterizing RpH and temperature all over the day (Jonsson et al. 2019), seasons (Antanaitis et al. 2016) or predicting patterns related to animal health (Denwood et al. 2018). ...
... Continuous measurement of RpH has become a helpful tool for defining acid-base status and its interactions with factors, such as diet composition (Denwood et al. 2018). Rumen temperature could be used for detecting excessive fermentation products (volatile fatty acids (VFA) and lactic acid) (Antanaitis et al. 2018). ...
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... Over the last few decades, there has been a dramatic decrease in dairy cow fertility rate due to various preventable causes [9]. Reticuloruminal pH data can also be used to predict the reproductive health of livestock [10]. Dairy cows with altered rumen metabolism (that is, low pH) have low fertility rates. ...
... Arguably, a low pH in the reticulorumen increases the temperature of the reticulorumen and abomasum. From this study, the average temperature of the reticulorumen during post insemination until day 170 was considerably higher than that in non-pregnant cows [10]. It was observed that vaginal temperature before estrus was considerably higher than that during the post-ovulation period [18]. ...
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... This is our first issue of volume 85, and amongst its content we have papers from three more countries. From Lithuania we have research using commercially available 'rumen boluses' measuring temperature and pH to predict the likelihood of reproductive success (Antanaitis et al. 2018). From Japan, heat-induced denaturation of casein micelles is shown to alter the strength of the acid milk gel through dissociation of κ-casein (Oka et al. 2018). ...
Article
Objective: This study was conducted to present an objective index that can be quantified and statistically analyzed by comparing rumen pH, ruminating time, milk yield, milk quality, and blood components among cows from farms with forage ratios of 90% or more of grass feed and farms that routinely manage more than 40% of the forage ratio, in consideration welfare of Holstein cow welfare. Methods: Data on rumen pH, rumination time, milk yield, milk fat ratio, milk protein ratio, and blood metabolism were collected from 12 heads from a welfare farm (forage rate 88.5%) and 13 heads from a conventional (forage rate 34.5%) three days in October 2019. Results: The rumination time was significantly longer in cattle on the welfare farm than on the conventional farm (p<0.01), but ruminal pH fluctuation was significantly greater in the cattle on conventional farm than the welfare farm (p<0.01). Conventional farms with a high ratio of concentrated feed produced a higher average daily milk yield than welfare farms, but milk fat and milk production efficiency (milk fat and milk protein corrected milk/total digestible nutrients) was higher in cattle on welfare farms. Blood test results showed a normal range for both farm types, but concentrations of total cholesterol and NEFA were significantly higher in cows from conventional farms with a high milk yield (p<0.01). Conclusion: The results of this study confirmed that cows on the animal welfare farm with a high percentage of grass feed had better rumen pH, milk production efficiency, and various blood metabolism parameters compared to those on the conventional farm.
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This study aims to determine the relationship between indicators of the motor activity, pH factor, rumen and rectal temperature within 10 days after calving and to analyze the possibility of using the studied parameters as prognostic signs for diagnosing sub-acute rumen acidosis (SARA). The measurements were taken using bolus with sensors designed to monitor cow health. The motor activity, pH factor and ruminal temperature of 10 cows were measured during 10 days at a measurement interval of every 60 seconds. Next, the researchers calculated the average values of the obtained readings, which were divided into 2 groups according to a measurement interval of every 12 hours. Rectal temperature was measured using a veterinary thermometer every 12 hours (at 8 a.m. and at 8 p.m.). As a result, 200 measurements were obtained. Descriptive sampling statistics were calculated using the SPSS Statistics program. An increase in motor activity reduces the pH level of the rumen environment. Lowering the pH factor of the rumen environment leads to an increase in ruminal temperature. There is a positive statistically significant correlation between ruminal and rectal temperature. The nosology of SARA can be predicted by measuring the motor activity and rectal temperature of dairy cows.
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This Research Communication addresses the hypothesis that some biomarkers from automatic milking system can be indicators of cows reproduction success. The pregnancies were tested with ultrasound after 30–35 d post-insemination. Those cows which were pregnant were assigned to the PG+ group (n = 36) and those which were not pregnant, were assigned to the PG- group (n =32). On oestrus day the pH, temperature of the contents of cow reticulorumens and cow activity were measured using specific smaX-tec boluses manufactured for animal care. Rumination time, body weight, milk yield, milk fat – protein ratio, milk lactose, milk somatic cell count, milk electric conductivity of all quarters of udder (front right, front left, rear left, rear right), and consumption of concentrates were registered with the help of Lely Astronaut® A3 milking robots. We estimated that the reticulorumen pH (P<0.001) and reticulorumen temperature (P<0.01) were higher in PG+ cows compared to PG- cows, which were found to have higher (P<0.001) productivity (MY). Between the reticulorumen pH and the MY in PG- cows a positive relationship was calculated (P<0.001). In PG+ group was estimated a higher milk fat ant protein ratio (F/P=1.19±0.013) compared to PG- group (P<0.001) and a higher content of milk lactose (4.59±0.003%; P<0.001). Cows of PG + group were more active compared to the PG- group (1.94%; P <0.001) and consumed less concentrates (17.50%, P<0.001). We can conclude that higher reticulorumen pH and temperature, milk lactose and lower consumption of concentrates and higher activity of cows were associated with the reproduction success. Correlation coefficients between values of automatic measurements of reticulorumen pH and temperature in PG+ and PG- cows were fluctuating and differed at different times of day. Analysis multivariable logistic regression have shown that the key reliable indicators of cow reproduction success are changes in productivity and activity.
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Whilst the exact definition of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) remains debatable, it is certain that SARA is present in a large number of dairy herds, affecting a limited proportion of animals. It is uncertain, however, what the exact consequences in the individual animal within a herd are. Based on the current knowledge, it appears fair to assume that not SARA in itself has negative consequences in the individual as well as in the herd, but that these are arising simultaneously with other pathologic alterations.The challenge for the future is to describe the impact of SARA on herd level. Detrimental effect on feed efficiency described seems to be the most important economic consequence. Furthermore, research may focus on the question whether SARA has to be understood as a signal differentiating optimal from suboptimal management in dairy herds.
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The objective of this study was to determine the association of metabolic parameters and cow associated factors with the conception rate at first insemination (FCR) in Thai dairy cows. The investigation was performed with 529 lactations from 32 smallholder dairy farms. At 3-6 weeks after parturition, blood samples and ruminal fluid were collected. Body condition scores (BCS) of cows were scored 1 week before expected calving date and at blood sampling date. Ruminal pH was measured at 2-4 h after morning feeding in ruminal fluid collected by ruminocentesis. Serum beta-hydroxybutyrate and serum urea nitrogen were measured by kinetic enzyme method. Cows with first insemination (AI) between 41 and 114 days postpartum were identified after pregnancy diagnosis for FCR. Breed, parity, interval from calving to first AI, BCS before calving, BCS after calving, loss in BCS after calving, SBHB, SUN, ruminal pH, and postpartum problems were selected as independent variables for a model with FCR as a dependent variable. A multivariable logistic regression model was used with farm as a random effect. Overall FCR was 27.2 %. The FCR depended on interval from calving to first AI, BCS before calving, and ruminal pH. The FCR between 69 and 91 days postpartum was significantly highest (45 %). Before calving, a cow with high BCS (≥3.5) had significantly greater FCR than a cow with low BCS (≤3.25; P < 0.01). An increased ruminal pH raised significantly FCR (OR = 2.53; P = 0.03).
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Heat detection is a key factor in the profitability of dairy herds. However, this detection demands a significant part of the breeder's working time and is made difficult by the short duration and the discrete behavioural changes associated with oestrus in modern dairy cows. Progress has been made in monitoring cow with electronics, biosensors and computer. As a result, automated heat detection systems have been developed. Currently available tools are automated detectors of standing heat, activity-metres and automated in-line systems measuring milk progesterone. Camera-software systems and monitoring of body temperature are being developed and may also be used as heat detection tools. The heat detection rate of most systems is above 80% with a specificity of detection generally higher than 90%. The accuracy, however, may vary considerably depending on the tool and model developed. The initial investment of several thousands of euros required for these automated systems becomes a source of profit in large herds, provided the recorded data are properly managed.
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The overall objective of this study was to study the influence of induced estrus on body temperature, comparing 5 distinct intervals around induced estrus and to determine the diurnal pattern from 4 ± 1 d before to 4 ± 1 d after induced estrus. Sixteen estrous cycles of 9 postpartum dairy cows were synchronized with 2 injections of PGF(2α), 10 d apart. After the second PGF(2α) injection on d 10, temperature loggers were inserted into the vaginal cavity for a 12 ± 1-d period. Two days later, a third dose of PGF(2α) was injected to induce estrus. After confirmation of a corpus luteum, loggers were removed on d 5 ± 1. Observation of estrus, rectal palpation, and ultrasound scanning to determine ovulation were carried out every 4 ± 1h, beginning at 12h after the third PGF(2α) injection. Blood samples from the vena coccygea mediana were collected twice daily from d 11 to 12 and every 4 ± 1h after the third PGF(2α) injection until ovulation. Vaginal temperature was recorded every 5 min and averaged to hourly means for the following 5 periods: 1) 48 h preceding the third PGF(2α) injection, 2) from the third PGF(2α) injection to first signs of estrus, 3) estrus to ovulation, 4) a 4-h interval in which ovulation occurred, and 5) a 96-h post-ovulation period. High body temperatures (39.0 ± 0.5 °C) and low progesterone (P4) concentrations (<0.5 ng/mL) were observed during estrus, whereas low body temperatures were observed from PGF(2α) injection to estrus (38.6 ± 0.3 °C) and around ovulation (38.5 ± 0.2 °C), respectively. An association between body temperature and serum P4 concentrations did not exist. However, P4 concentrations on d 11 and 12 were high (5.0 ± 1.5 ng/mL) and decreased (0.9 ± 0.2 ng/mL) after ovulation. Diurnal temperature rhythms were similar before and after estrus. Vaginal temperature before estrus (d 11 and 12) was slightly (0.1 °C) higher compared with the post-ovulation period.
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Spring-calving Angus cows (n = 30) were used to evaluate changes in ruminal temperature (RuT) related to parturition and estrus. Cows were synchronized and artificially inseminated with semen from a single sire. Temperature boluses were placed in the rumen at 7.0 ± 0.2 mo of gestation. Boluses were programmed to transmit RuT every 15 min. Cows (BW = 623 ± 44 kg, BCS = 4.9 ± 0.4) calved during 3 wk, and estrus was synchronized at 77 ± 7 d after calving with PGF(2α). Cows were observed every 12 h to detect estrus. Daily average ambient temperatures ranged from 2 to 22 °C during parturition (February to March) and 17 to 25 °C during estrus (May to June). Ruminal temperature from 7 d before to 3 d after parturition and 2 d before to 2 d after visual detection of estrus was analyzed using the MIXED procedure. Ruminal temperatures <37.72 °C were attributed to water consumption and excluded from analyses. Day did not influence (P = 0.36) RuT from d -2 to -7 before parturition (38.94 ± 0.05 °C). Ruminal temperature decreased (P < 0.001) from d -2 to d -1 before parturition (38.88 ± 0.05 to 38.55 ± 0.05 °C, respectively). Ruminal temperature was not influenced (P = 0.23) by day from 1 d before to 3 d after parturition (38.49 ± 0.05 °C). Ruminal temperature at 0 to 8 h after detection of estrus (38.98 ± 0.09 °C) was greater (P < 0.001) compared with RuT at the same daily hour of the day before (38.37 ± 0.11 °C) or the day after estrus (38.30 ± 0.09 °C). Ambient temperature did not influence (P > 0.30) RuT at parturition or estrus. Ruminal temperature decreased the day before parturition and increased at estrus in spring-calving beef cows and has potential use as a predictor of parturition and estrus.
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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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The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between ruminal pH and ruminal temperature and to develop a predictive equation that can aid in the diagnosis of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). Six rumen-fistulated lactating Holstein dairy cows (639 +/- 51 kg body weight) were used in the study. Cows were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 dietary treatments: control (% of dry matter, 40% corn silage, 27% mixed haylage, 7% alfalfa hay, 18% protein supplement, 4% ground corn, and 4% wheat bran) or SARA total mixed ration (% of dry matter, 31% corn silage, 20% mixed haylage, 5% alfalfa hay, 15% protein supplement, 19% ground wheat, and 10% ground barley) and were fed daily at 0700 and 1300 h. The experiment consisted of 1 wk of adaptation followed by 1 wk of treatment. Ruminal pH and ruminal temperature were simultaneously and continuously recorded every minute for 4 d per week using the same indwelling electrode. Subacute-acidotic cows spent more time (min/d) below ruminal pH 5.6 and a greater time above 39.2 degrees C than control cows. Ruminal pH nadir had a negative relationship with its corresponding ruminal temperature (R2 = 0.77). Therefore, ruminal temperature may have potential to predict ruminal pH and thus aid in the diagnosis of SARA.
Article
Fertility in dairy cows has declined over the past five decades as milk production per cow has increased. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain this including issues of genetics, physiology, nutrition and management, and these factors have been investigated at the animal, organ and cellular level at critical time points of the productive life of dairy cows. This paper reviews the physiological events and their causes and consequences affecting fertility in dairy cows and summarises these in a downloadable poster. We consider the following points to have the greatest negative impact on fertility and that they need to be prioritised in efforts to ameliorate the problem (others have been included in the review). Firstly, minimise negative energy balance and resolve any infection of the post partum uterus. Secondly, expression and detection of oestrus followed by insemination with high quality semen (day 0). Thirdly, ovulation and fertilisation of a high quality oocyte (day 1). Fourthly, an early increase in progesterone secretion from the corpus luteum (days 3-7). Fifthly, the uterine endometrium must produce an early and appropriate environment to stimulate embryo development (days 6-13). This leads to sixthly, a large embryo producing adequate quantities of interferon tau (days 14-18) that alters uterine prostaglandin secretion and signals maternal recognition of pregnancy (days 16-18). Future strategies to improve dairy cow fertility are needed for the benefit of the dairy industry and for cow welfare and should be based upon an integrative approach of these events.
Article
The effects of a grain-based subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) challenge on translocation of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the peripheral circulation, acute phase proteins in blood and milk, feed intake, milk production and composition, and blood metabolites were determined in 8 lactating Holstein cows. Between wk 1 and 5 of 2 successive 6-wk periods, cows received a total mixed ration ad libitum with a forage to concentrate (F:C) ratio of 50:50. In wk 6 of both periods, the SARA challenge was conducted by replacing 21% of the dry matter of the total mixed ration with pellets containing 50% wheat and 50% barley. Rumen pH was monitored continuously using indwelling pH probes in 4 rumen cannulated cows. Rumen fluid samples were collected 15 min before feed delivery and at 2, 4, 6, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 24 h after feed delivery for 2 d during wk 5 (control) and wk 6 (SARA). Peripheral blood samples were collected using jugular catheters 15 min before feeding and at 6 and 12 h after feeding at the same days of the rumen fluid collections. The SARA challenge significantly reduced average daily pH from 6.17 to 5.97 and increased the duration of rumen pH below pH 5.6 from 118 to 279 min/d. The challenge reduced dry matter intake (16.5 vs. 19 kg/d), milk yield (28.3 vs. 31.6 kg/d), and milk fat (2.93 vs. 3.30%, 0.85 vs. 0.97 kg/d), and tended to increase milk protein percentage (3.42 vs. 3.29%), without affecting milk protein yield (1.00 vs. 0.98 kg/d). The challenge also increased the concentration of free LPS in rumen fluid from 28,184 to 107,152 endotoxin units (EU)/mL. This was accompanied by an increase in LPS in peripheral blood plasma (0.52 vs. <0.05 EU/mL) with a peak at 12 h after feeding (0.81 EU/mL). Concentrations of the acute phase proteins serum amyloid A, haptoglobin, and LPS-binding protein (LBP) in peripheral blood as well as LBP concentration in milk increased (438.5 vs. 167.4, 475.6 vs. 0, 53.1 vs. 18.2, and 6.94 vs. 3.02 microg/mL, respectively) during SARA. The increase in LBP in combination with the increase in LPS in peripheral blood provides additional evidence of translocation of LPS. Results suggest that the grain-based SARA challenge resulted in translocation of LPS into the peripheral circulation, and that this translocation triggered a systemic inflammatory response.
L'acidosi ruminale sub-acuta della vacca da latte tra teoria e pratica: le patologie correlate
  • M Dorigo
  • P Dalvit
  • A Andrighetto
Dorigo M, Dalvit P & Andrighetto A 2009 L'acidosi ruminale sub-acuta della vacca da latte tra teoria e pratica: le patologie correlate. Large Animal Review 14 235-237