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Can J Vet Res. 1992 Oct; 56(4): 289–295.
PMCID: PMC1263558

Effects of bovine leukemia virus infection on production and reproduction in dairy cattle.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of bovine leukemia virus (BLV) infection on production, reproduction and longevity in dairy cattle. The study population was a commercial Holstein dairy herd of approximately 400 milking cows. Cattle were tested for antibodies to BLV at least annually for three years and when culled. Four groups of culled cows were compared: seronegative cows (n = 79), seropositive cows without lymphocytosis (n = 176), seropositive cows with lymphocytosis (> or = 9,000 lymphocytes/microliter) (n = 74), and seropositive cows with lymphosarcoma (n = 29). Seropositive groups of cows were bred more times and had longer calving intervals than seronegative cows. The seropositive groups had greater 305-day ME (mature equivalent) FCM (3.5% fat-corrected milk) per lactation and were older when culled than seronegative cows. However, the percent fat per lactation was greater in seronegative cows. In the last complete lactation, differences in 305-day ME FCM, days open and cull age between groups were reduced and none were significant (p > 0.05). In the cull lactation, only cows with lymphocytosis had reduced milk production relative to seronegative cows, although this difference was not significant. After adjustment for initial production and reproductive values, only seropositive nonlymphocytotic cows were culled at a significantly older age than seronegative cattle. Lymphocytotic cows were culled four months younger on average than nonlymphocytotic seropositive cows. Hence, BLV infected cows had greater milk production on average than uninfected cows. Adverse effects of BLV infection were primarily limited to lymphocytotic cows which were culled earlier and had reduced milk production in the cull lactation.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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