Cow health is by far one of the key factor in dairy herd profitability. Cows must be in excellent health to provide high quality milk and superior reproductive performance; high-production cows are particularly susceptible to disease. Mastitis, ketosis, calving issues, lameness and other disorders reduce production and demand costly veterinary treatment. Ultimately, animal illness leads to financial losses that can transform a profitable dairy farm to a losing enterprise. Thus, to remain profitable, dairy farms must ensure the prevention, early detection and treatment of sick cows.
- Mastitis: This is the most prevalent disease among high-yielding dairy cows. This illness reduces milk production and quality, and necessitates costly medication and treatment.
- Lameness: This is the second most prevalent health issue on the modern dairy farm. Resulting damages include decreased milk production and a higher risk of culling/death.
- Post-Calving diseases: The post-calving period is the most susceptible time for lactating dairy cows. Post-calving dairy diseases include dystocia, retained placenta, endometritis, milk fever, ketosis and displaced abomasum. These illnesses, which appear a brief time after calving, greatly influence cow performance during the entire lactation period. Over a 305-day period, ketotic cows produce about 400 kg milk less than their non-ketotic counterparts.
Cow production, milk quality, body condition and behaviour provide early indications of health-related changes. By closely monitoring these factors, the herdsman ensures cow health and farm profitability. Mastitis prevention proves to be the greatest challenge with relation to cow health. The goal of every mastitis control programme is to prevent the introduction of bacteria into a normal and healthy mammary gland. Mastitis prevention must be practiced on every cow at every milking every day. Udder care is essential for the profitable milk producer. Udder care is practiced by reducing the spread of bacteria from cow to cow, eliminating reservoirs for bacteria in and around the barn yard. It only takes a few seconds per cow per milking. Repeating the process will make mastitis prevention a management habit. Contact your veterinarian or county extension office for additional resources on mastitis prevention and treatment.
Early detection enables prompt treatment, which reduces the duration of disease and need for medication. Powerful detection methods operating 24/7 point out every cow in need of attention.
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