The contribution of previous lameness events and body condition score to the occurrence of lameness in dairy herds: a study of 2 herds

Randall, L.V., Green, M.J., Green, L.E., Chagunda, M.G.G., Mason, C., Archer, S.C. and Huxley, J.N. (2018) The contribution of previous lameness events and body condition score to the occurrence of lameness in dairy herds: a study of 2 herds. Journal of Dairy Science, 101 (2). pp. 1311-1324. ISSN 1525-3198

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It has been demonstrated that low body condition and previous occurrence of lameness increase the risk of future lameness in dairy cows. To date the population attributable fraction (PAF), which provides an estimate of the contribution that a risk factor makes toward the total number of disease events in a population, has not been explored for lameness using longitudinal data with repeated measures. Estimation of PAF helps to identify control measures that could lead to the largest improvements on-farm. The aim of this study was to use longitudinal data to evaluate the proportion of lameness that could be avoided in 2 separate herds (2 populations) through (1) reduced recurrence of previous lameness events, (2) and moving body condition score (BCS) into more optimal ranges. Data were obtained from 2 UK dairy herds: herd A, a 200-cow herd with 8 yr of data from a total of 724 cows where lameness events were based on weekly locomotion scores (LS; 1 to 5 scale), and herd B, a 600-cow herd with data recorded over 44 mo from a total of 1,040 cows where treatment of clinical cases was used to identify lameness events. The PAF for categories of BCS were estimated using a closed equation appropriate for multiple exposure categories. Simulation models were used to explore theoretical scenarios to reflect changes in BCS and recurrence of previous lameness events in each herd. For herd A, 21.5% of the total risk periods (cow-weeks) contained a lameness event (LS 3, 4, or 5), 96% of which were repeat events and 19% were recorded with BCS <2 (3 wk previously; 0 to 5 scale). When lameness events were based on 2 consecutive weeks of LS 4 or 5, 4% of risk periods were recorded as lame, of which 89.5% were repeat events. For herd B, 16.3% of the total risk periods (consecutive 30 d) contained a lameness event (72.6% were repeat events) and 20% were recorded with BCS ≤2 (0 to 120 d previously). The median PAF for all previous lameness was between 79 and 83% in the 2 herds. Between 9 and 21% of lameness events could be attributed to previous lameness occurring >16 wk before a risk period. The median PAF estimated for changes in BCS were in the region of 4 to 11%, depending on severity of lameness. Repeated bouts of lameness made a very large contribution to the total number of lameness events. This could either be because certain cows are initially susceptible and remain susceptible, due to the increased risk associated with previous lameness events, or due to interactions with environmental factors. This area requires further research.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Lameness; Dairy cattle; Population attributable fraction; Body condition score; Previous lameness events
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2017 11:21
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2018 10:50

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