News last update:6 Aug 2012

Symposium highlights cow health solutions

Over 15 international experts presented their research in the area of calf nutrition and pathology at the recent fourth annual Dairy Solutions Symposium taking place at the Institut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais, France.

The symposium, which was a joint venture between animal health and nutrition company, Alltech, and academic institutions, the Institut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais and the École nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort, saw the panel of speakers emphasising the huge economical consequences of diseases and poor nutrition affecting the dairy industry.

"Calf mortality statistics show that it usually ranges between 5-8%, but the range is vast. Costs associated with mortality before weaning could be as much as €260 per animal", said David Wilde, Alltech UK's ruminant technical manager.

Welcoming delegates to the symposium, Alltech's Vice President for Europe, Marc Larousse, Philippe Choquet, director of the Institut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais and Prof. Bernard-Marie Paragon of the École nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort agreed that the event provided an excellent opportunity for academics, researchers and practitioners from all over the world to meet and exchange ideas and information about current on-farm issues.

The panel of speakers, representing all professions in the dairy field, examined topical issues such as the prevention of calf scours, acidosis, respiratory diseases and protozoal infections as well as the impact of nutrition on calf health.

Trace mineral status
The relationship between trace mineral status of herds and some major health disorders was considered by Prof. Francis Enjalbert, National Veterinary School of Toulouse. "Inadequate trace mineral nutrition of either cows or their calves is a risk factor for poor health in calves. Of these trace minerals, selenium plays a major role, but copper, zinc and iodine deficiencies can also affect the calf health", he said.

Importance of colustrum
Colostrum quality was the theme of Prof. Jud Heinrich of Pennsylvania State University, USA's presentation. "Colostrum feeding is a critical step in raising healthy calves as a result of the physiology and metabolism of the bovine species. Failure of passive transfer of immunoglobulin is a serious problem in the bovine and on-farm management of this problem must be continuous", he cautioned.

Dr. Yves Milleman of the École nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort looked at Neonatal Calf Diarrhoea (NCD). "NCD is one of the most significant diseases of neonatal calves and results in the greatest economic loss due to disease in this age group in both dairy and beef calves. NCD outbreak associated costs include treatment time, possible impact on subsequent calf growth performances and potential death," he said.

Over 150 delegates attended the two-day symposium

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