Relationships between bulk-tank antibodies to ...

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Title Relationships between bulk-tank antibodies to Ostertagia ostertagi and herd-management practices and measures of milk production in Nova Scotia dairy herds
Author(s) F. J. Guitian, Ian R. Dohoo, R. J. Frederick Markham, Gary A. Conboy, Gregory P. Keefe
Journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Date 1999
Volume 47
Issue 1-2
Start page 79
End page 89
Abstract Monthly bulk-tank milk samples were obtained from 415 Nova Scotia dairy herds in each of the months of July-September 1998 and tested using an indirect microtitre ELISA against a crude saline-extract, whole-worm Ostertagia ostertagi antigen. ELISA results (optical densities (ODs)) were consistent across months (r=0.85) but there was considerable variation among herds. A questionnaire was sent by mail to all producers; information on management factors that would potentially influence parasite burdens in the herds was obtained from 239 farms. Data on annual milk production, summer milk production (July-September) and seasonal decline in milk production were obtained from the Animal Productivity and Health Information Network (APHIN) database. Associations between management practices and ODs, and between ODs and milk-production parameters were studied. Some management practices known to be associated with parasite burdens had expected directions of association with the ODs, giving supporting evidence that the ELISA is a reasonable measure of parasite burden. Most notably, ODs were increased with greater exposure of heifers or milking cows to pasture. ODs were not associated with either annual milk production or seasonal decline in milk production. However, there was a substantial relationship between the herd OD value and the level of milk production during the summer. An increase in the OD from 0.58 to 0.83 (the interquartile range of ODs) was associated with a reduction in production of 1.25kg/cow/day.

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