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Field trial on the relationship of blood metabolites and body condition score with the recurrence of luteal activity in Estonian Holstein cows.

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Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 1, 51014 Tartu, Estonia.


Associations of body condition scores and blood metabolites, measured before calving and at different periods during early lactation, with recurrence of luteal activity were investigated in a 250-head commercial dairy farm during a 4-year period (1999-2002). The study was conducted on 48 dairy cows (60 lactations) with average 305-day milk yield of 8149 kg per cow. Blood samples taken 1-14 days before calving and 1-14, 28-42 and 63-77 days after calving were analysed for aspartate aminotransferase, glucose, ketone bodies, triglycerides, non-esterified fatty acids and cholesterol. Milk progesterone (P(4)) profiles (samples collected twice a week, P(4) levels measured in whole milk by enzyme immunoassay) were used to evaluate the interval from calving to first luteal response, P(4) >5 ng/ml, and the interval from calving to first normal cycle. The MIXED procedure of the sas system was used to study the association of investigated parameters. A higher concentration of ketone bodies before calving was associated with shorter interval to recurrence of first normal cycle (P = 0.007) and tended to be related to shorter interval from calving to first luteal response (P = 0.071). A lower prepartum aminotransferase activity showed a tendency to be associated with shorter interval from calving to first luteal response (P = 0.084). Results suggest metabolic status up to 2 weeks prepartum to be related to the resumption of postpartum luteal activity in Estonian Holstein dairy cows.

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