How to recognize heat stress in dairy cows
of heat stress in dairy cows range
from decreased milk production and reproductive performance to increased
incidence of lameness.
According to Dr. Dana Tomlinson, Dairy Research
Nutritionist, Zinpro Corporation, nutrition and cow comfort factors play
significant roles in reducing this problem.
Clinical symptoms include:
Effect of season on somatic cell count (SCC): Summer heat appears
to impact SCC. Research from the USDA found that SCC varied by season, with SCC
levels being highest in summer and lowest in winter.
- Ruminal response to heat stress:
Research indicates that cows exposed to heat stress conditions
have lower rumen pH, predisposing cows to acidosis and claw lesions.
- Hoof trimming:
Research shows that lameness incidence peaks at the end of summer.
Routine hoof trimming is essential for minimizing the incidence of lameness
caused by heat stress.
- Role of trace minerals: Supplementing
highly bioavailable forms of zinc, manganese and copper (Zinpro Performance
Minerals®) have been shown to decrease the severity of claw lesions. These
trace minerals also play a key role in maintaining claw integrity.
If your dairy operation is
experiencing high incidence of claw horn lesions following the summer heat,
Tomlinson recommends using locomotion scoring
as an effective means of
monitoring for the prevalence of lameness. "The system helps identify individual
cows for functional hoof trimming, while comparing the incidence and severity of
lameness between groups or herds," he notes.
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