Animal behavior, well-being topic of ADSA session

Researchers representing several universities around the globe attended the Animal Behavior & Well-Being I session of the 2017 American Dairy Science Assn. (ADSA) Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Topics from cow preferences for outdoor areas to the use of acetylsalicylic acid boluses to reduce inflammation in periparturent cows were covered. However, the biggest highlights were the studies with calves.

Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario presented on the use of data recorded by automatic calf feeders to help detect sick calves. They reported that sick calves showed decreased milk intake compared to healthy calves up to five days before treatment administration. On the other hand, milk intake increased for five days after treatment administration.

Drinking speed decreased with disease and increased after treatment as well, but not as intensely as milk intake. Milk intake was a useful variable to track disease, because how the intake was affected by disease and recovery could be tracked.

Another group of researchers from the same university presented about a current issue: the use of anesthetic protocols for caustic paste disbudding. They reported that caustic paste seems to cause pain for at least 180 minutes after application. Calves that received a local anesthetic by corneal nerve block prior to paste application had less pain sensitivity than calves receiving a caustic paste containing anesthetic or calves receiving a saline solution prior to paste application.

*Gustavo Mazon is from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He earned his BS from the Universidade Federal de Viçosa and is currently pursuing a master's degree from the University of Kentucky focusing on transition cow nutrition and estimations of dry matter intake using precision dairy technologies.

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