Post-partum longissimus dorsi muscle loss, but not back fat, is associated with resumption of postpartum ovarian activity in dairy cattle



Ryder, J, Smith, RF ORCID: 0000-0003-0944-310X and Neary, JM ORCID: 0000-0001-8438-2234
(2023) Post-partum longissimus dorsi muscle loss, but not back fat, is associated with resumption of postpartum ovarian activity in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 106 (11). pp. 8087-8097.

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Abstract

The objectives of this observational cohort study were to assess the effect of body condition score change, back fat depth change, and muscle diameter change on the time to commencement of luteal activity and first estrus in commercial pedigree Holstein cows. A total of 140 of 200 commercial pedigree Holstein cows were enrolled in one dairy herd in Somerset, UK, over 52 wk in 2021 to 2022. The herd used 4 automatic milking machines with in-line progesterone measurement capability to determine commencement of luteal activity and time to first estrus. Cows were followed until at least 60 d postpartum, and milk progesterone was measured daily starting from 10 DIM. Body condition scoring and ultrasound measurements of back fat depth and longissimus dorsi muscle diameter were performed on cows twice, within 7 d of both calving and 60 DIM. Other explanatory variables assessed included parity, 60-d and 305-d milk yield, and subclinical ketosis (β-hydroxybutryate ≥1.2 mmol/L). Occurrence of clinical disease <60 DIM was forced into all models as a binary variable. Data were analyzed using multivariable Cox proportionate survival analyses. Muscle loss was associated with commencement of luteal activity and time to first estrus. A reduction in muscle diameter by 1.5 to 5 mm was associated with the shortest time to the start of luteal activity and first estrus. A reduction in muscle diameter >8 mm was associated with the longest times to luteal activity and first estrus. In addition to being affected by muscle loss, commencement of luteal activity was delayed by subclinical ketosis, clinical disease, and failure to gain body condition to 60 DIM. Cows that had a BCS loss of 0.25 or more between calving and 60 DIM were at least 52 ± 22% less likely to have commenced luteal activity compared with those that gained BCS. Interestingly, cows that had no change in body condition score commenced luteal activity later than those that gained body condition score. Muscle loss was associated with time to first estrus irrespective of clinical disease status. Cows that lost >8 mm of muscle diameter showed estrus behavior later than cows that lost 1.5 to 5 mm. In conclusion, our findings indicate that extensive muscle loss postpartum was associated with a delayed start to luteal activity and first estrus, irrespective of body condition change, clinical disease, and subclinical ketosis. Marginal muscle loss and a gain in body condition, however, were associated with an earlier start to luteal activity and first estrus.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dairy cattle, fat, fertility, muscle
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2023 10:17
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 22:55
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2023-23253
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3172110