Predicting high somatic cell counts: associations between ante partum risk factors and elevated somatic cell count post partum
Waard, Menno de
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Test day data before drying off and after calving were collected for 220 Dutch dairy cows in a study on the effect of vitamin E supplementation on udder health. The cows divided over 5 different Dutch dairy farms were split in two groups and given either a high vitamin E supplementation (3.000 IU/day orally) or a low supplementation (135 IU/day orally) during the dry period. These data were used to investigate 5 risk factors ante partum for their predictive value towards an elevated somatic cell count post partum. Risk factors taken into account were somatic cell count ante partum, parity, milk yield ante partum, 305 days of production and duration of dry period. Only somatic cell count ante partum and milk yield ante partum showed significant relationships between them and an elevated somatic cell count post partum. For somatic cell count ante partum this was vitamin group B on farms A and C, and for the milk yield ante partum it was group A on farm B. Due to multiple factors, no significant prediction could be made for an elevated somatic cell count post partum using these risk factors. The hypothesis that all risk factors together could predict an elevated somatic cell count post partum was not confirmed.