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Effects of dietary and milking frequency changes and administration of cabergoline on clinical udder characteristics in dairy cows during dry-off

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We investigated the effects of 2 diet energy densities [normal lactation diet (NORM) vs. energy-reduced diet (REDU), both fed for ad libitum intake] and 2 daily milking frequencies [twice (2×) vs. once (1×)] during 1 week before the dry-off day, as well as effects of an injection of either a dopamine agonist [cabergoline (CAB); Velactis, Ceva Santé Animale, Libourne, France; labelled for use only with abrupt dry-off, e.g. no reduction in diet energy density or milking frequency before the last milking] or saline (SAL) following the last milking, on clinical udder characteristics of Holstein cows. During a week before and after the last milking, the following measures were recorded: palpation-based udder firmness and soreness; image-based hock-hock distance; responsiveness to mechanical udder stimulation and degree of udder fill measured with a dynamometer. Before the last milking, REDU cows displayed lower odds of having a firm udder and lower degree of udder fill, as well as lower responsiveness to mechanical udder stimulation, than NORM cows. After the last milking, REDU cows displayed shorter hock-hock distance compared with NORM cows. The effects of milking frequency on the clinical udder characteristics were unclear. Within 24 h following injection, CAB cows showed lower odds of having a firm udder, shorter hock-hock distance, and lower degree of udder fill than SAL cows, irrespective of treatment group before dry-off. In this study, reducing diet energy density prior to dry-off, and to some extent administering the dopamine agonist cabergoline after the last milking, resulted in fewest clinical udder changes.
TidsskriftResearch in Veterinary Science
Sider (fra-til)88-98
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022

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