A comparison of serum metabolic and production profiles of dairy cows that maintained or lost body condition 15 days before calving.J Dairy Sci. 2017 Jan; 100(1):536-547.JD
Body condition score (BCS) change is an indirect measure of energy balance. Energy balance before calving may affect production and health in the following lactation. It is likely that cows may experience BCS loss before calving due to negative energy balance. The objective of this study was to determine if loss of BCS 15d before calving affected milk production, BCS profile, and metabolic status during the transition period and early lactation. On d -15 to d 0 relative to calving, BCS was assessed (1=emaciated, 5=obese) for 98 Holstein-Friesian cows. The cows were divided into 2groups: those that did not lose BCS between d -15 and d 0 (maintained, BCS-M, n=55) and those that lost BCS from d -15 to d 0 (lost, BCS-L, n=43, average loss of 0.29±0.11 BCS). The fixed effects of BCS group, parity, week (day when analyzing milk production records), their interactions, and a random effect of cow were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Before calving, BCS-L cows tended to have higher concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids than BCS-M cows (0.88 vs. 0.78mmol/L). After calving, BCS-L cows had higher nonesterified fatty acid concentrations in wk 1 (0.93 vs. 0.71mmol/L), wk 2 (0.84 vs. 0.69mmol/L), and wk 4 (0.81 vs. 0.63mmol/L) than BCS-M cows. The BCS-L cows had higher concentrations of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in wk 1 (0.72 vs. 0.57mmol/L), wk 2 (0.97 vs. 0.70mmol/L), and wk 4 (0.94 vs. 0.67mmol/L) compared with BCS-M cows. We detected significant reductions in insulin concentrations in BCS-L cows from wk -1 (2.23 vs. 1.37 µIU/mL) to wk 2 (1.68 vs. 0.89 µIU/mL) and wk 4 (2.21 vs 1.59 µIU/mL) compared with BCS-M cows. Prevalence of subclinical ketosis increased in BCS-L cows in wk 3 and 4 when BHB was ≥1.4mmol/L and in wk 1, 3, and 4 when BHB was ≥1.2mmol/L. In wk 1, BCS-L cows tended to have lower levels of calcium than BCS-M cows (2.33 vs. 2.27mmol/L). We found no differences between the groups of cows for milk yield and energy-corrected milk. The BCS-L cows had lower BCS up to 75d in lactation. Overall, BCS-L cows had higher somatic cell scores with an elevated somatic cell score on d 45, d 60, and d 75. There was an overall tendency for BCS-L cows to have higher fat yield and an overall significant increase in fat percentage. Overall, BCS-L cows had lower lactose percentage, with a reduction on d 60. This work shows that BCS loss before calving may have significant consequences for metabolic status, milk composition, somatic cell score, and BCS profile in dairy cows.