Prevalence of periparturient diseases and effects on fertility of seasonally calving grazing dairy cows supplemented with concentrates

E. S. Ribeiro, F. S. Lima, L. F. Greco, R. S. Bisinotto, A. P.A. Monteiro, M. Favoreto, H. Ayres, R. S. Marsola, N. Martinez, W. W. Thatcher, J. E.P. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives were to characterize the prevalence of periparturient diseases and their effects on reproductive performance of dairy cows in seasonal grazing farms. A total of 957 multiparous cows in 2 farms (555 in farm A and 402 in farm B) were evaluated and diseases characterized. At calving, dystocia, twin birth, stillbirth, and retained fetal membranes were recorded and grouped as calving problems. On d 7 ± 3 and 14 ± 3 postpartum, cows were evaluated for metritis and on d 28 ± 3 for clinical endometritis based on scoring of the vaginal discharge. From parturition to 30. d after artificial insemination (AI), prevalence of mastitis, lameness, and digestive and respiratory problems were recorded. For subclinical diseases, diagnosis was based on blood samples collected from 771 cows and analyzed for concentrations of Ca, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), and β-hydroxybutyrate. Cows were considered as having elevated NEFA concentration if the concentration was ≥0.70. m. M, subclinical ketosis if the β-hydroxybutyrate concentration was ≥0.96. m. M, and subclinical hypocalcemia if the Ca concentration was ≤2.14. m. M. Ovaries were scanned on d 35 ± 3 and 49 ± 3 postpartum for determination of estrous cyclicity. All cows were enrolled in a timed AI program and inseminated on the first day of the breeding season: on average, 86. d postpartum. Overall, 37.5% (359/957) of the cows presented at least 1 clinical disease and 59.0% (455/771) had at least 1 subclinical health problem. Prevalence of individual diseases was 8.5% for calving problems, 5.3% for metritis, 15.0% for clinical endometritis, 13.4% for subclinical endometritis, 15.3% for mastitis, 2.5% for respiratory problems, 4.0% for digestive problems, 3.2% for lameness, 20.0% for elevated NEFA concentration, 35.4% for subclinical ketosis, and 43.3% for subclinical hypocalcemia. Clinical and subclinical diseases had additive negative effects on reproduction, delaying resumption of estrous cyclicity and reducing pregnancy per AI (P/AI). Occurrence of multiple diseases further reduced reproductive efficiency compared with a single disease. Individually, subclinical hypocalcemia, elevated NEFA concentration, metritis, and respiratory and digestive problems reduced estrous cyclicity by d 49 postpartum. Elevated NEFA concentration, calving problem, metritis, clinical and subclinical endometritis, and digestive problems reduced P/AI on d 65 after AI. Moreover, calving problems and clinical endometritis increased the risk of pregnancy loss between gestation d 30 and 65. Serum concentrations of Ca and NEFA were negatively correlated, and both were associated with prevalence of uterine diseases. In conclusion, periparturient diseases were highly prevalent in seasonally calving grazing dairies and affected cows had delayed resumption of estrous cyclicity, reduced P/AI, and increased risk of pregnancy loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5682-5697
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Dairy cow
  • Disease
  • Grazing
  • Reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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