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New insights into body condition score and its association with fatty liver in holstein dairy cows

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Author(s): Šamanc H. | Kirovski Danijela | Jovanović M. | Vujanac I. | Bojković-Kovačević Slavica | Jakić-Dimić Dobrila | Prodanović R. | Stajković Silvana

Journal: Acta Veterinaria
ISSN 0567-8315

Volume: 60;
Issue: 5-6;
Start page: 525;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: body condition score | fatty liver | Holstein cows

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to estimate the association between body condition and fatty liver in high-yielding dairy cows. One hundred dry Holstein cows were selected. Cows were scored once for body condition during the dry period, puerperium and month 2 of lactation, according to the system provided by Elanco Animal Health Buletin Al 8478. Body condition loss was determined as marked if loss was over 0.7 points between two consecutive phases of cycles and over 1.5 points between puerperium and month 2 of lactation. Liver tissue samples were taken 12 d after calving and tested for lipid content. 50% of cows had mild (3.92 ± 3.33% fat), 33% moderate (19.28 ± 5.18% fat), and 17% severe fatty liver (36.21 ± 4.55% fat). The mean body condition scores were 3.79 ± 0.55 (dry period), 3.18 ± 0.34 (puerperium) and 2.90 ± 0.29 (month 2 of lactation). Marked body condition loss from the dry period to puerperium had 38% of cows, 20% from dry period to month 2 of lactation and 8% from puerperium to month 2 of lactation. Body condition scores out of the physiological range had 39% dry cows, 49 % cows in puerperium and 9% cows at month 2 of lactation. After dividing cows into groups according to fatty liver degree, it was shown that only cows with severe fatty liver were obese during the dry period and that 76.47% of cows from this group had marked condition loss from the dry period to puerperium, 47.06% from dry period to month 2 of lactation and 23.53% from puerperium to month 2 of lactation. These indicate that in cows with severe fatty liver lipomobilisation is intensive and starts around calving, before milk production enhacement. Our results indicate a strong association between body condition and fatty liver in cows, which can be estimated only when body condition is analyzed in details. Besides, our results clearly indicate that body condition is not the only etiological factor that leads to fatty liver in dairy cows.
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