Special Issue "Dairy Cow Health and Welfare"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Cattle".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David S Beggs
Website
Guest Editor
Melbourne Veterinary School, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Interests: Dairy Cattle; Animal Welfare; Reproduction; Mastitis
Prof. Dr. Peter Mansell
Website
Guest Editor
Melbourne Veterinary School, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Interests: Bovine mastitis; Animal Husbandry; Veterinary Medicine; Cattle; Milk; Dairy Cattle; Dairy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Dairy cow health and welfare are important to the general public and dairy consumers as the dairy industry is coming under increasing public scrutiny, particularly as herd sizes and intensification increase.

The challenge for researchers is to deliver reliable and practical insights into how to measure and maintain good health and welfare in an environment where technology is rapidly evolving, and where there is a trend toward larger herds.

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring together a body of work that focuses on the evidence base of dairy cow health and welfare, to demonstrate current progress and suggest future solutions.

Original manuscripts that address any aspect of dairy cow health and welfare are invited for this Special Issue. Topics of particular interest include challenges and opportunities associated with intensification of dairying; the use of new monitoring technologies in dairy herds; new diagnostic methods for reproduction and mastitis; and public perceptions of animal welfare on dairy farms.

Dr. David S Beggs
Prof. Dr. Peter Mansell
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • dairy
  • welfare
  • fertility
  • mastitis
  • lameness
  • disease

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Metabolic Profiling of Plasma in Different Calving Body Condition Score Cows Using an Untargeted Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Metabolomics Approach
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1709; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091709 - 21 Sep 2020
Abstract
This study was undertaken to identify metabolite differences in plasma of dairy cows with a normal or high calving body condition score (CBCS), using untargeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) metabolomics. Sixteen multiparous dairy cows were assigned to one of two groups based on [...] Read more.
This study was undertaken to identify metabolite differences in plasma of dairy cows with a normal or high calving body condition score (CBCS), using untargeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) metabolomics. Sixteen multiparous dairy cows were assigned to one of two groups based on CBCS (0 to 5 scale): Normal group (NBCS, 3.25 ≤ BCS ≤ 3.5, n = 8), and high BCS group (HBCS, BCS ≥ 4, n = 8). Plasma samples were collected for metabolomics analysis and evaluation of biomarkers of lipid metabolism (nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)), and cytokines (leptin, adiponectin, tumor necrosis factor–α (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6)). A total of 23 differential metabolites were identified, and functional analyses were performed using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. Among these metabolites, the concentrations of six lysophosphatidylcholines and one phosphatidylethanolamine, were lower in the HBCS group than in the NBCS group (p < 0.01). Furthermore, these metabolites were involved in these four pathways, among others: glycerophospholipid metabolism, retrograde endocannabinoid signaling, autophagy, and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor biosynthesis (p < 0.05). In addition, plasma concentrations of leptin (p = 0.06) and TNF-α (p = 0.08) tended to be greater while adiponectin (p = 0.09) lower in HBCS cows than in NBCS cows. The concentrations of NEFA, BHB, or IL-6 did not differ between NBCS and HBCS groups. More importantly, based on the results of the Spearman’s correlation analysis, the seven important metabolites were negatively correlated with indices of lipid metabolisms, proinflammatory cytokines, and leptin, but positively correlated with adiponectin. These results demonstrate that CBCS has a measurable impact on the plasma metabolic profile, even when NEFA and BHB are not different. In addition, the identified differential metabolites were significantly correlated to lipid metabolism and inflammation in the over-conditioned fresh cows, which are expected to render a metabolic basis for the diseases associated with over-conditioned dry cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Health and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Benchmarking Tool for Dairy Herd Management Using Routinely Collected Herd Records
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091689 - 18 Sep 2020
Abstract
Continuous assessment of the herd status is important in order to monitor and adjust to changes in the welfare and health status but can be time consuming and expensive. In this study, herd status indicators from routinely collected dairy herd improvement (DHI) records [...] Read more.
Continuous assessment of the herd status is important in order to monitor and adjust to changes in the welfare and health status but can be time consuming and expensive. In this study, herd status indicators from routinely collected dairy herd improvement (DHI) records were used to develop a remote herd assessment tool with the aim to help producers and advisors benchmark the herd status and identify herd management issues affecting welfare and health. Thirteen DHI indicators were selected from an initial set of 72 potential indicators collected on 4324 dairy herds in Eastern Canada. Data were normalized to percentile ranks and aggregated to a composite herd status index (HSI) with equal weights among indicators. Robustness analyses indicated little fluctuation for herds with a small HSI (low status) or large HSI (high status), suggesting that herds in need of support could be prioritized and effectively monitored over time, limiting the need for time-consuming farm visits. This tool allows evaluating herds relative to their peers through the composite index and highlighting specific areas with opportunities for improvements through the individual indicators. This procedure could be applied to similar multidimensional livestock farming issues, such as environmental and socio-economic studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Health and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Prepartum Fat Mobilization in Dairy Cows with Equal Body Condition and Its Impact on Health, Behavior, Milk Production and Fertility during Lactation
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091478 - 22 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of two levels of fat mobilization at the close-up period in dairy cows with an equal body condition score (BCS = 3.0) on the circulating concentrations of metabolic, inflammatory, and oxidative stress biomarkers, [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of two levels of fat mobilization at the close-up period in dairy cows with an equal body condition score (BCS = 3.0) on the circulating concentrations of metabolic, inflammatory, and oxidative stress biomarkers, incidence of diseases, behavior, milk production, and fertility during the postpartum. Late-gestation multiparous Holstein cows (n = 59) with a body condition score of 3.0 (5-point scale) were enrolled at the beginning of the close-up period and then were followed during the entire lactation. Cows were retrospectively allocated into two groups: animals with prepartum non-esterified fatty acids concentration over 0.3 mmol/L were categorized as high fat mobilization (HFM) (n = 26), and below this threshold as low fat mobilization (LFM) (n = 33). Blood samples were collected 21 d before expected calving and once weekly for 3 wk postpartum in order to analyze β-hydroxybutirate, haptoglobin, fibrinogen, total proteins, and malondialdehyde. Health was observed daily for 21 d postpartum. Behavioral data was collected with an accelerometer and milk production and fertility were obtained from the farm records. An increased fat mobilization in dairy cows with equal BCS modified the inflammatory and oxidative stress responses during the early postpartum without impairing their health status and fertility. Moreover, milk production and behavior were markedly affected by excessive prepartum fat mobilization through lactation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Health and Welfare)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Review of Welfare Indicators of Indoor-Housed Dairy Cow as a Basis for Integrated Automatic Welfare Assessment Systems
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081430 - 15 Aug 2020
Abstract
For on-farm welfare assessment many automatic methods have been developed to detect indicators of reduced welfare. However, there is still a need to integrate data from single sources to obtain a complete picture of the welfare of an animal. This review offers a [...] Read more.
For on-farm welfare assessment many automatic methods have been developed to detect indicators of reduced welfare. However, there is still a need to integrate data from single sources to obtain a complete picture of the welfare of an animal. This review offers a basis for developing integrated automatic systems to assess dairy cow welfare by providing an overview of the main issues that challenge cow welfare (e.g., lameness) and of well-established indicators that could detect these issues on the farm. Based on a literature review of 4 reviews on cow welfare in general and 48 reviews on single welfare issues, we identified 18 different major welfare issues and 76 matching indicators that could be detected automatically on the farm. Several indicators, e.g., feed intake, showed a consistent association with welfare across many different issues. Although some of these indicators are discussed critically, this means there are many indicators that potentially could detect reduced welfare in general. Other types of indicators could detect one specific welfare issue, e.g., increased respiratory rate for heat stress. These different types of indicators combined provide a basis to develop integrated automatic systems that ultimately would help farmers to detect welfare problems at an early stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Health and Welfare)
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