AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Association between farm management practices and the development of disease in the digestive and respiratory tract in young stock on Dutch dairy farms

by J. Roelvink

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2015
Keywords: management practices; association; calf health; respiratory disease; diarrhea; Dutch dairy sector
Record ID: 1260992
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/311132


Data used in this paper was collected in a telephonically taken questionnaire within 200 Dutch dairy farmers with relatively high or low antibiotic usage in the calves in the age up to 56 days, over the period of June 2012 up to June 2013. Assumed is that by merging these two, evenly distributed, groups a relevant, average overview of the Dutch dairy sector was established. This study shows that on 63% of the farms diarrhea is a problem in the young calves. On 37.5% of the farms respiratory disease is a problem. The calves get an average of 5.89 liters of colostrum within the first 24 hours and spend 14 days in individual housing before they are transmitted to group housing. Statistical relevant risk- and protective factors were found for the development of diarrhea and respiratory disease. For diarrhea a major risk factor found was cleaning of the group housing facility based on an all-in-all-out principle. The odds for developing diarrhea is 3.2 times higher when the calves are exposed to such kind of. More protective factors were found within the bio-medical items. The odds for developing diarrhea is 0.2 if the cows are vaccinated Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). The odds for developing diarrhea is 0.2 if the farm is official declared BVD free. For respiratory disease risk factors are food- and bio-medical related. The odds for developing respiratory disease is 2.6 if the farmer feeds the individual housed calves manually with artificial milk. The odds for developing respiratory disease is 3.4 if the farmer only uses antibiotics which are recorded in the farm animal health plan without exceptions. Protective factors are also found within the food items. The odds for developing respiratory disease is 0.4 if the older, group housed, calves are fed milk using a feeding-trough. For further research it would be recommended to extend the amount of observations and to make use of a controlled trial study design. This would increase the power of the results and make it possible to test our assumptions.