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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Health and Well Being

Association between 4-day vaginal temperature assessment during the dry period and performance in the subsequent lactation of dairy cows during the warm season12


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 95 No. 12, p. 5208-5217
    Received: Apr 10, 2017
    Accepted: Sept 23, 2017
    Published: November 2, 2017

    3 Corresponding author(s):

  1. A. L. A. Scanavez*,
  2. B. Fragomeni,
  3. L. Rocha*,
  4. B. E. Voelz*,
  5. L. E. Hulbert* and
  6. L. G. D. Mendonça 3*
  1. * Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506
     Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens 30602


The objective of the study was to investigate the relationships between vaginal temperature during the dry-period and health, milk production, and reproduction in the subsequent lactation of cows during the warm season. A total of 105 nonlactating Holstein cows from 2 dairies were enrolled in the study during summer. At enrollment, cows were between 250 and 260 d of gestation. Vaginal temperature (VT) and corral ambient temperature and humidity were recorded every 5 min for 4 consecutive days starting at enrollment. Cows were categorized as presenting high (HT) or low temperature (LT) based on the median values of average VT and were followed until 300 d in milk (DIM) of the subsequent lactation to evaluate health disorders, culling rate, milk yield, and reproductive efficiency. Cows that became pregnant were followed until subsequent calving. Cows were monitored for uterine diseases (UTD) and mastitis (MAST) by farm personnel. Individual milk yield was recorded monthly until 300 DIM. Cows classified as HT had shorter (P < 0.01) gestation length (273.9 ± 0.9 vs. 278.7 ± 1.0 d) and spent fewer (P < 0.01) days in the close-up pen (14.3 ± 0.8 vs. 19.4 ± 1.0 d) than LT cows. Hazard to UTD or MAST in the first 60 DIM was greater for HT than LT cows (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 5.15, 95% CI = 1.91 to 13.86). Cows classified as HT had greater hazard to MAST in the first 300 DIM compared with LT cows (AHR = 2.39; 1.03 to 5.56). Vaginal temperature was not associated with milk yield. In contrast, the interaction between VT category and month of lactation tended to influence milk yield. This interaction was observed because cows categorized as LT had greater (P < 0.01) milk yield in the first month of lactation compared with HT cows (39.2 ± 1.6 vs. 33.7 ± 1.5 kg), whereas milk yield tended (P = 0.07) and was greater (P = 0.05) for HT cows in the ninth (32.7 ± 1.6 vs. 28.5 ± 1.9 kg) and tenth (29.9 ± 1.7 vs. 25.0 ± 2.0 kg) month of lactation, respectively. Pregnancy per AI at first service, interval from calving to pregnancy, and percentage of cows calving in the subsequent lactation did not differ between HT and LT cows. In conclusion, VT assessed between 20 and 30 d before expected calving is associated with health outcomes and milk production in the subsequent lactation. In addition, cows susceptible to be affected by postpartum disorders after calving may be identified during the summer by evaluating VT temperature at 250 to 260 d of gestation.

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