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Metabolism includes all metabolic processes that maintain life and normal functioning of the organism possible. Metabolic disorders of cattle are a group of diseases that affect dairy cows immediately after parturition. There are several metabolic disorder identified in dairy cows during the first month after parturition and the metabolic disorders which we focus in this guide include: ruminal acidosis, ketosis, and fatty liver. Health disorders are associated with economic losses for dairy farms due to reductions in milk production, increased risk of culling and death, increased treatment cost and reduced reproductive performance.
Monitoring Metabolic Diseases
Automatic health monitoring makes it possible to detect disease at an early stage. This monitoring treatment and health in a more efficient way. Monitoring cow behaviour has become increasingly important in management, nutrition and overall health of dairy cows. Daily activity patterns, eating and ruminating are widely considered as indicators closely related to health issues. Correcting the diet for cows during the period from late pregnancy to peak lactation is crucial in preventing these diseases. All the above diseases results from nutritional deficiencies during the crucial period when body reserves of calcium, magnesium or energy cannot meet the metabolic needs. The BPG Nutrition shows how to improve feed management and efficiency with technology. Monitoring feeding behaviour can provide early indications of metabolic disorders.
Available Sensors and Technologies
Different technologies are clustered by technical type to detect metabolic diseases include:
- Accelerometers: Accelerometers are able to measure activity, eating behaviour and rumination in cows. All these parameters are important to monitor animal health. Accelerometers are available in leg, neck and ear sensors.
- Temperature sensors: Body temperature is an important parameter to monitor animal health. The pH bolus is designed to provide a continuous measurement of the pH and temperature in the rumen. In the farm situation the boluses are often used in sensitive cows to monitor and optimise feeding regimes. The body temperature is also measure in milk.
- Body weight: Monitoring body weight can be useful to predict dry matter intake as well as changes in body condition. Body condition scoring camera and walkover weigh scale system are examples for measuring body weight.
- Milk analysis: Milk analysis is a good indicator to detect metabolic diseases. The most useful parameters in milk composition are likely to be Beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetone, fat and protein.
- Real-time location: Understanding how the cow use the dairy barn can provide essential information to the farmer on cow health, productivity and welfare.
Last update: February 14, 2017