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J Vet Med Sci. 2006 Sep;68(9):935-40.

Evaluation by weight change rate of dairy herd condition.

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Kohiruimaki Animal Medical Service, Tohoku, Aomori, Japan.


The purpose of this study was to clarify whether weight change rate (WCR) is useful in evaluating herd health. Five herds (A, B, C, D, and E) were examined monthly for approximately 1 year to measure both WCR and BCS. WCR was calculated using the following equation: WCR (%) = (body weight of current month-body weight of the preceding month)/body weight of current month x 100. In addition, blood profiles were performed in each herd before and after calving. The incidence of periparturient diseases was higher in Herds A, B, and C compared with Herds D and E. Reproductive performance in Herds A and B was rather poor compared with Herds C, D, and E. There were significantly lower WCRs in Herd A compared with Herd C during the period of day -30 to day 30 after calving. According to the blood profiles, high levels of non-essential fatty acids (NEFA) were observed during the period of day -30 to -1 and high beta-hidroxybutyricacid (BHB) and low levels of glucose were observed at day 30 after calving in Herd A. A marked poor condition in Herd A during the peripaturient period was clearly expressed by low WCR in this experiment. WCR can express body condition of herds and is suggested to be a useful parameter in the determination of herd performance in field experiments.

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