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Prev Vet Med. 2015 Mar 1;118(4):370-7. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.12.015. Epub 2015 Jan 3.

Unravelling the temporal association between lameness and body condition score in dairy cattle using a multistate modelling approach.

Author information

1
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, United Kingdom; Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Pulau, Pinang, Malaysia. Electronic address: pohyinglim@gmail.com.
2
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, United Kingdom. Electronic address: jon.huxley@nottingham.ac.uk.
3
Endell Veterinary Group, 49 Endless Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3UH, United Kingdom. Electronic address: jim@endellfarmvets.co.uk.
4
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, United Kingdom. Electronic address: martin.green@nottingham.ac.uk.
5
Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Pulau, Pinang, Malaysia. Electronic address: oarahman@usm.my.
6
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, United Kingdom. Electronic address: jasmeet.kaler@nottingham.ac.uk.

Abstract

Recent studies have reported associations between lameness and body condition score (BCS) in dairy cattle, however the impact of change in the dynamics of BCS on both lameness occurrence and recovery is currently unknown. The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the effect of change in BCS on the transitions from the non-lame to lame, and lame to non-lame states. A total of 731 cows with 6889 observations from 4 UK herds were included in the study. Mobility score (MS) and body condition score (BCS) were recorded every 13-15 days from July 2010 until December 2011. A multilevel multistate discrete time event history model was built to investigate the transition of lameness over time. There were 1042 non-lame episodes and 593 lame episodes of which 50% (519/1042) of the non-lame episodes transitioned to the lame state and 81% (483/593) of the lame episodes ended with a transition to the non-lame state. Cows with a lower BCS at calving (BCS Group 1 (1.00-1.75) and Group 2 (2.00-2.25)) had a higher probability of transition from non-lame to lame and a lower probability of transition from lame to non-lame compared to cows with BCS 2.50-2.75, i.e. they were more likely to become lame and if lame, they were less likely to recover. Similarly, cows who suffered a greater decrease in BCS (compared to their BCS at calving) had a higher probability of becoming lame and a lower probability of recovering in the next 15 days. An increase in BCS from calving was associated with the converse effect, i.e. a lower probability of cows moving from the non-lame to the lame state and higher probability of transition from lame to non-lame. Days in lactation, quarters of calving and parity were associated with both lame and non-lame transitions and there was evidence of heterogeneity among cows in lameness occurrence and recovery. This study suggests loss of BCS and increase of BCS could influence the risk of becoming lame and the chance of recovery from lameness. Regular monitoring and maintenance of BCS on farms could be a key tool for reducing lameness. Further work is urgently needed in this area to allow a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms behind these relationships.

KEYWORDS:

Body condition score; Dairy cow; Discrete time event history model; Lameness; Multilevel multistate model; Transitions

PMID:
25579605
DOI:
10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.12.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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