Body condition score, nonesterified fatty acids and beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in goats with subclinical ketosis

V. Marutsova*, R. Binev

Department of Internal Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria (Manuscript received 29 May 2017; accepted for publication 31 October 2017)

Abstract. Studies were conducted to establish the influence of the values of β-hydroxybutyric acid (ВНВА) and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) in the blood on the assessment of body condition score (BCS) of goats with subclinical ketosis (SCK). A total of 113 dairy goats with yearly milk yield of 680 L, in their 2nd to 3rd lactation and average body weight 50-60 кg were included in the study. The goats were divided in three groups: І group (n=27) – pregnant (from pre-partum days 15 to 0); ІІ group (n=28) – recently kidded (from postpartum days 0 to 15) and ІІІ group (n=58) – lactating (from postpartum days 30 to 45). It was established that the quantity of BHBA in goats from control groups I, II and III were between 0.17±0.11 mmol/l and 0.56±0.11 mmol/l. In goats from the three groups with SCK signs, blood BHBA was statistically significantly elevated vs control goats – from 0.88±0.11 mmol/l to 1.2±0.42 mmol/l (р<0.001). Blood ВНВА <0.8 mmol/l in goats are indicative a good transition from pregnancy to lactation, whereas an amount between 0.8 mmol/l and 1.6 mmol /l are indicative of the SCK. Blood BHBA concentrations indicative for clinical ketosis were not established in goats from the three groups (ВНВА <1.6 mmol/l). The body condition scores (BCS) of goats from the control groups was within the reference range – 2.45±0.3 – 2.85±0.2, whereas in goats with SCK – declines of varying degrees of reliability. In goats from the three groups with SCK signs, blood NEFA was statistically significantly elevated vs control groups.

Changes in the hindleg conformation and their relation to lameness, production system and lactation number in dairy cows

Tch. Miteva, T. Penev, Zh. Gergovska, J. Mitev, N.Vasilev, V. Dimova

Abstract. The study was performed at three dairy cattle farms from three districts in the country: Plovdiv, Bourgas, and Veliko Tarnovo. The cows housed at all three farms were of the Holstein-Friesian breed. A total of 150 cows were included, 50 from each farm. The rearing at the three farms was free with differences in some technological details. The following traits were recorded: hindleg conformation score examined from behind (HLCS), lameness score (LS), body condition score (BCS) of the cows. It has been established that by increasing the age (lactation number), the mean hindleg conformation score increased, respectively from 1.22 at the 1st to 2.29 at the 4th or following lactations. The cows with normal hindleg conformation (HLCS 1) had a mean lameness score of 1.13, which indicated that they did not have any major locomotory problems. The cows with the most considerable hoof overgrowth and change in the leg conformation score (HLCS 3) had the highest lameness score (2.33). The cows without locomotory problems (LS 1) had the highest mean BCS (2.54) compared to those with varying degrees of lameness. The cows with LS 3 had the lowest BCS (1.90). There was a tendency towards a lower extent of fattening in cows with locomotory problems. There were no significant differences in the mean values of HLCS and LS between the three farms, yet there was a difference in the percentages of cows with different scores. The causes can be found in the technological differences of rearing, feeding, etc.

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Comparative investigation on some welfare indicators of cattle under different housing systems

J. Mitev, T. Penev, Zh. Gergovska, Ch. Miteva, N. Vassilev, K. Uzunova

Abstract. Dairy cattle welfare is of exceptional importance in modern production systems. The purpose of the present study was to compare the effect of some of most popular contemporary solutions for free-stall housing of dairy cows on some welfare indicators. It was performed with 150 Holstein-Friesian cows in three farms as followed: housed freely in group boxes in a semi-open barn (farm A), and housed freely in group stalls, with individual cubicles of a different size (farms B and C). The results showed that the free housing in groups with straw bedding was optimal with regard to the prevalence of traumatism as seen from the least percentage of body decubitus ulcers – 2% of cows, but it was most unfavorable from the point of view of body hygiene level. The free housing in individual cubicles (farms B and C) with the specific cubicle and neck rail dimensions were a prerequisite for increased trauma incidence and were not compliant with the allowances of this welfare indicator. The application of systems for complex evaluation of the level of dairy cattle welfare allows for an easy detection of existing flaws and disadvantages at a specific farm and for timely suggestion of efficient measures for their correction.

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Effect of body condition score at calving on body condition during lactation in Holstein and Brown Swiss cows

Zh. Gergovska, T. Angelova, D. Yordanova, Zh. Krastanov, Ch. Miteva
Abstract. The study comprises 37 cows of which 20 Holstein and 17 Brown Swiss cows. The rearing technology in both breeds is free rearing in individual cubicles for rest. Milking is two times in milking parlour. Cows are divided in three technological groups depending on the physiological state, respectively: dry cows, І-st – up to 120-150 th day and ІІ-d lactation period. Feeding is on the basis of whole ration mixture including maize silage, alfalfa haylage, concentrated fodder and vitamin and mineral additives. The body condition of cows has been recorded on a monthly basis by using a 5-score evaluation system, from 0 to 5 points, recorded with accuracy up to 0.5 points. In Brown cows average BCS at calving is 3 points, average BCS during lactation is 1.64 points. In Holstein cows average BCS at calving is 2.8 points and average BCS during lactation is 1.38 points. Heifers from both breeds have a bit lower BCS at calving (3.0 points) than older cows, but they have less loss of body condition during lactation – 1.66 points. With cows at ≥ ІІ-d lactation loss is more intensive as early as the first lactation month and till the lowest BCS they lose a total of 2.04 points. Holstein cows lose at the beginning of lactation more points (an average of 2.14) and reach lower BCS (1.05) compared to Brown Swiss ones in which these values are 1.85 an 1.20 points. BCS drops to the lowest value during lactation in cows from both breeds with poor body condition at calving (2 and 2.5 points). The smoothest are the changes in the body condition of cows that had reached BCS at calving 3.5 and 4 points.

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