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Najm, Nour-Addeen; Zimmermann, Lisa; Dietrich, Oliver; Rieger, Anna; Martin, Rainer and Zerbe, Holm (2020): Associations between motion activity, ketosis risk and estrus behavior in dairy cattle. In: Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 175, 104857

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Abstract

Ketosis (acetonaemia) is a metabolic disorder that occurs in cattle when energy demand exceeds energy intake and results in a negative energy balance. The course of the disease often starts with a subclinical phase, so early detection is crucial for decisive strategies. The aim of this study was to determine whether daily motion activity could be used as an indicator of subclinical ketosis in early lactation and to evaluatethe effect of subclinical ketosis on activity at estrus. The study was carried out on a 75-cow dairy farm over 6 months. Data were collected from 48 cows between day 0 and day 70 post-partum. Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentrations were evaluated in milk samples using rapid on-site ketosis tests. A test was considered positive at a concentration of > 100 mu mol/l. The animals were divided into two groups: group 'Healthy' (H) and group 'Ketosis' (K). Once the on-site test was positive, the cows were assigned to group K. Progesterone concentrations were evaluated in milk by photometric detection of the colour reaction of a competitive, heterologous enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Each drop from >= 0.3 ng/ml to < 0.3 ng/ml with a subsequent increase to >= 0.3 ng/ml was considered estrus. Daily milk yield, concentrate intake and motion activity were recorded from a computerized dairy management system with the associated software (DairyPlan C21). Animals in group K had lower average daily activity levels than animals in group H. In this study, statistically significant reduced motion activity in animals in group K was observed on days 6-12 post-partum (P < 0.001, chi(2) test) compared with the herd mean daily motion activity. Furthermore, a significant association could be found between motion activity and group affiliation (logistic regression models). The sensitivity of the detection of cows at risk for ketosis was 81.8 %, and the specificity was 65.4 %, retrospectively determined by their activity behaviour. The mean motion activity on the day of estrus was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in animals in group K than in those in group H. This method may help to establish a future early warning system for the risk of ketosis in dairy cows. Thus, cows at risk may be identified for further targeted diagnostics and for selective treatment procedures. This study confirms the already reported lasting effect of subclinical ketosis on reproductive efficiency.

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