Effect of Comprehensive Educational Training to Calving Personnel on the Incidence of Stillbirth in Holstein Dairy Cows
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The objectives of the present observational study were 1) to assess the time from the appearance of AS or feet to birth (and calving progress) for Holstein cows (primiparous [PRIM] and multiparous [MULT] with assisted and unassisted births and 2) to assess the effect of educational training to dairy personnel on stillbirth. A total of 385 Holstein dairy cows were enrolled in this observational field study. The time from AS appearance to birth (minutes), from feet appearance outside the vulva to birth (minutes), and calf birth weights (kg) in PRIM and MULT cows were analyzed using proc MIXED of SAS. The incidence of stillbirths (born dead or died within 24 hours after birth) and clinical metritis were analyzed using proc GLIMMIX of SAS. Time from AS or feet appearance, cow behavior during labor stage, calving progress (signs of imminent births), and stillbirth were recorded from unassisted or assisted cows. For eutocic births, labor was characterized for transitioning from standing to lying position. For dystocic births, labor was characterized a restless behavior such as frequent transitioning between standing and lying positions. The time from amniotic sac (AS) or feet appearance to birth was 54.2 or 48.8 minutes, respectively. Although not statistically significant, the proportion of stillbirth in cows assisted by trained calving personnel was lower (4.7%) compared to cows assisted by personnel without training (7%). Recognizing the signs of calving progress and imminent birth is critical to determine the appropriate time for obstetric intervention and for positive outcomes (calf and dam). Comprehensive educational training to dairy personnel should be a top priority to reduce the negative effects of dystocia on calves and dams.