Health

Background

Monitoring transition cows: New guides and tools

The transition is a challenging period for the dairy cow. Animal health company Elanco is putting more effort into supporting farmers to cope with this.

The company has therefore launched the ‘Transition Mission’. As part of this initiative, the company has launched a new website that includes resources to support farmers around transition, such as downloadable resources and updates.

The negative energy balance experienced by cows around parturition also contributes to lowered immunity. Photo: Henk Riswick
The negative energy balance experienced by cows around parturition also contributes to lowered immunity. Photo: Henk Riswick

Immune suppression dairy cows

The Transition Mission provides a framework that supports healthier, more productive and more fertile cows, while also reducing antibiotic use. These are all significant challenges. Nearly all cows experience immune suppression during transition and there can be up to a 40% decline in neutrophil function around calving. neutrophils are the cells that form the first line of defence in the immune system. The negative energy balance experienced by cows around parturition also contributes to lowered immunity. Up to 40% of cows have clinical metritis in the first 2 weeks after calving, with both clincial and sub-clinical uterine disease being associated with poor fertility.

Planners, checklists and guides

Awareness of the importance of transition has improved significantly in recent years and some 94% of UK dairy farmers now rate the 60 days before and 30 days after calving as very important. The new website provides planners, checklists and guides that will help ensure dairy cows and heifers are adequately monitored in the transition period. A number of progressive UK dairy farmers and their vets have also shared their experiences of improving transition outcomes in a series of videos.

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