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Mogens Agerbo Krogh

Time to the occurrence of a decline in milk production in cows with various paratuberculosis antibody profiles

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Infection with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in dairy cattle often results in reduced milk production and premature culling. Some test-positive animals can live for years without being affected by infection, whereas others are test negative when they die from the infection. Our objective was to describe the deviation in milk production of cows with various MAP antibody profiles compared with their repeatedly test-negative herdmates in the same parity. Data were obtained from herds participating in the Danish control program on paratuberculosis, for which 4 annual MAP antibody ELISA of individual cows were performed per herd per year. A total of 136,489 ELISA results from 38,998 dairy cows in 64 herds were used along with 484,285 test-day records on energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield. Cows were divided into 6 antibody groups based on their repeated milk ELISA results: A0) repeated ELISA negative; A1) ELISA negative, but only once; A2) ELISA negative on the last 3 tests, but with 1 previous positive result; A3) ELISA negative on the last test, but with 1 or more previous positive results; A4) last sample was ELISA positive, but all previous were negative; and A5) at least the last 2 samples were ELISA positive. The expected test-day kilograms of ECM by herd and parity were estimated for cows in antibody group A0. Deviations from expected milk production were then assessed for cows in the other antibody groups relative to the time of the first test-positive ELISA result (D 0). Cows in groups A2, A3, and A5 produced approximately 0.5 kg of ECM/d more than cows in group A0 at 300 d before D 0. Cows in group A4 had a decline in milk production from d 300 before D 0, with daily milk production reduced by 5 kg of ECM at 200 d after D 0. Milk production of cows in group A5 was reduced by 2.5 kg of ECM at 300 d after D 0 compared with 300 d before D 0, whereas cows in groups A2 and A3 produced 0.5 kg of ECM more than cows in group A0. The conclusions of the study were that 1) increasing the number ELISA tests increases the predictive value of ELISA for inference on milk production losses, 2) a combination of ELISA with assessment of observed milk production may be a valuable tool for decisions on culling, and 3) the declines in milk production attributable to MAP occurred over a long time period, and may not be realized by the herd manager without more advanced management tools such as the model proposed here.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume92
Issue1
Pages (from-to)149-155
ISSN0022-0302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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