Behavioural changes caused by lameness and lameness treatment in dairy cows housed in automatic milking systems in the UK

Miguel-Pacheco, Giuliana Giannina (2015) Behavioural changes caused by lameness and lameness treatment in dairy cows housed in automatic milking systems in the UK. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Lameness is a detrimental problem for the welfare of cows and farmer profits; it causes changes in cow behaviour, which have direct impact on milk production as cows reduce their overall activity. The main aim of this thesis was to investigate behavioural changes caused by lameness and lameness treatment in cows housed in automatic milking systems; in addition it aimed to investigate the effect of claw horn lesions on the likelihood of recovery from lameness.

The effect of lameness on dairy cows visits to an automatic milking system was investigated using a case-control study. It was observed that lame cows visited the automatic milking system less in comparison to non-lame cows in particular between 00:00 and 05:59. The effect of lameness on rumination time was investigated in a longitudinal study. Results showed that lame cows ruminated 8 minutes/day less than non-lame cows.

The effect of lameness treatment on dairy cow behaviour was investigated in a randomised clinical trial. Newly lame cows were randomly allocated to one of four treatments; these cows were matched to non-lame control cows. Cows treated with a therapeutic trim and a foot block increased their lying time in the five days after treatment in comparison to non-lame cows. The increase in lying was distributed throughout the day. None of the treatments caused changes in the number of milking visits per day after treatment. Lame cows treated with trim and NSAID showed a reduction in their rumination time (-59 minutes/day) during the 5 days after treatment in comparison to non-lame cows.

The effect of claw horn lesion type on the likelihood of recovery from lameness was investigated using photographs taken before lameness hoof trimming was applied. The results showed that cows with white line haemorrhage and those that were more severely lame at the time of treatment were less likely to recover at 2 weeks after hoof trimming was applied. In addition, recovery was positively associated with the size of the white line haemorrhage.

The present thesis demonstrated that lameness and lameness treatment affected cow behaviour, and may delay recovery. Early recognition and prompt intervention should be encouraged in order to reduce the behavioural changes caused by lameness and improve the recovery rates from disease.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Huxley, Jonathan N.
Kaler, Jasmeet
Keywords: Lameness, Dairy cattle, Behaviour, Welfare, Lying behaviour, Rumination behaviour, Lameness treatment
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Item ID: 53643
Depositing User: Miguelpacheco, Giuliana
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2019 13:07
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 14:03
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/53643

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