Epidemiology of subclinical ketosis in early lactation dairy cattle.J Dairy Sci. 2012 Sep; 95(9):5056-5066.JD
The purpose of this study was to describe the epidemiology of subclinical ketosis (SCK) in dairy cows in early lactation and determine the association of (1) days in milk (DIM) at onset of SCK, and (2) blood β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration at onset of SCK with development of displaced abomasum (DA) and removal from herd in the first 30 DIM, conception to first service, days to conception within 150 DIM, and early lactation milk yield. Cows from 4 freestall dairy herds (2 in New York and 2 in Wisconsin) were each tested 6 times for SCK from 3 to 16 DIM using the Precision Xtra meter (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL). Subclinical ketosis was defined as a BHBA concentration of 1.2 to 2.9 mmol/L. Mixed-effects multivariable Poisson regression was used to assess DA, removal from herd, and conception to first service. Semiparametric proportional hazards models were used to evaluate days to conception, and repeated-measures ANOVA was used to evaluate milk yield in the first 30 DIM. A total of 741 of 1,717 (43.2%) eligible cows had a least one BHBA test of 1.2 to 2.9 mmol/L. Peak incidence of SCK occurred at 5 DIM, when 22.3% of cows had their first SCK-positive test. Peak prevalence of SCK occurred at 5 DIM, when 28.9% of cows had a SCK-positive test. Median time from first positive SCK test until BHBA test <1.2 mmol/L was 5d. Cows first testing SCK positive from 3 to 5 DIM were 6.1 times more likely [95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.3 to 16.0] to develop a DA than cows first testing SCK positive at 6 DIM or later. Cows first testing SCK positive from 3 to 7 DIM were 4.5 times more likely (95% CI = 1.7 to 11.7) to be removed from the herd, were 0.7 times as likely (95% CI = 0.6 to 0.8) to conceive to first service, and produced 2.2 kg less milk per day for the first 30 DIM than cows first testing positive at 8 DIM or later. Each 0.1 mmol/L increase in BHBA at first SCK-positive test increased the risk of developing a DA by a factor of 1.1 (95% CI = 1.0 to 1.2), increased the risk of removal from herd by a factor of 1.4 (95% CI = 1.1 to 1.8), and was associated with a decrease in milk production by 0.5 kg/d for the first 30 DIM. These results show that time of onset and BHBA concentration of first SCK-positive test are important indicators of individual cow performance.