Ensuring the smooth transition from pregnancy to lactation is an essential step in ensuring the health and productivity of dairy cows. A recently published review consolidates our understanding of the transition period, and aims to inform smart management practices.

“A smooth transition from pregnancy to lactation is important for high productive and reproductive performance in dairy animals”

Wankhade et al., 2017, doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2017. 1367-1377

The review, by Wankhade et al.describes the negative energy balance (NEB) which occurs in the transition dairy cow. The NEB occurs due milk production increasing the energy and nutrient demands on the cow, combined with the reduction in dry matter intake which occurs during transition. As a result of the NEB during transition a variety of changes to the cows immune system and metabolism can occur; these can have a detrimental impact on the cow if not properly managed.

The disorders which can result from poor management of the transition NEB include ketosis, acidosis, fatty liver syndrome, milk-fever, mastitis, and retained placenta. Specifically the risk of acidosis increases due to the delay in the rumen adapting to the reduction in dry matter intake which occurs during transition. If acidosis does occur this can mean the cow reduces its food intake further which can increase the NEB.

Also highlighted was the interconnectivity between the disorders associated with transition and the NEB, suggesting that a cow suffering from one disorder is at greater risk of contracting another disorder. Therefore smart management and rapid treatment of disorders if they do occur can ensure a smooth transition period. Understanding the health of your animal during the transition period is key to this, and using the eCow bolus to measure reticulum pH can determine if your cow is suffering from acidosis. The eCow bolus can be a vital tool in helping to ensure both the health, and productivity of your cow.

For more information about how the eCow bolus could help you, please contact us here.