Abstract

Facial eczema (FE) in livestock results in liver damage, impaired production and welfare, and is a significant problem in New Zealand. The pathology of this disease has been described in sheep and cattle, however, few studies have investigated the behavioural response to FE and whether behaviour can be used as an indicator of FE. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate lying behaviour of dairy cattle with FE. Six farms located in the North Island of New Zealand with confirmed cases of FE were selected (n=391 lactating cows). Blood samples were collected to analyse gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) concentrations and three days of continuous lying behaviour were recorded using accelerometers. There was no correlation between GGT concentrations and either lying times (r2=0.0008) or lying bout frequency (r2=0.0008) when all animals were included in the analysis. In addition, lying times (means±SEM: Low: 9±0.1 h/d, High: 9±0.1 h/d; P=0.347) and lying bout frequency (means±SEM: Low: 8±0.2 no. bouts/d, High: 8±0.2 no. bouts/d; P=0.149) did not differ between pair-matched cows with Low (≤ 89 IU/L) or High (≥ 123 IU/L) GGT concentrations. Therefore, it does not appear as though lying behaviour, measured using accelerometers, is associated with GGT levels in dairy cattle. Keywords: facial eczema; gamma-glutamyl transferase; lying behaviour

M, Sutherland, F Huddart, G Lowe, N Cox, E Cuttance, and K Schütz

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 80, Online, 24-28, 2020
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