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Daresjö, Sofia, 2020. Determinants for milk fever An epidemiological study of Swedish dairy cows. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)



Milk fever is a worldwide disease, seen mainly in dairy cows. At the onset of lactation the cow
is not prepared for the sudden calcium requirement, which causes a drop in the blood calcium
and the cow develops hypocalcaemia. Calcium is needed for the correct function of both nerves
and muscles in the body. A cow suffering from milk fever can show a variety of clinical signs,
such as being recumbent, having a reduced appetite and having cold extremities. In the worst
cases of milk fever the cow can develop a comatose state and die. To cope with the loss of
calcium the cow has several mechanisms in the body involving the kidneys, intestines and
bones. These include increased absorption of calcium from the kidneys and intestines and a
resorption of calcium from the bones.

Milk fever has been studied for many decades and several risk factors have been identified, e.g.
body condition score around calving, diet around calving, age, breed and production. The aim
of this study was to analyze suspected and previously stated risk factors and their association
with the incidence of milk fever. Data was collected through the milk recording scheme
managed by VÄXA Sverige. All herds studied were selected based on the milking year 2015/16
(September-August) and had at least 40 calvings, 20% Swedish Holstein breed and 20%
Swedish Red breed. Information about incidence of milk fever and the risk factors in these
herds was retrieved from 2006/07 through 2015/16. The risk factors studied were breed, parity,
previous milk fever cases, previous lactation length, previous dry period length, calving season,
previous calving interval and information about milk production (ECM, fat, protein). A
decreasing trend of the incidence of milk fever was observed throughout the years. All of the
studied factors had an association with the incidence of milk fever. High risk cows were of
Holstein breed, were of high parity, had suffered from milk fever in the previous lactation, had
a long previous lactation length, had a dry period length of 70-89 days, calved in spring, had a
long calving interval and had a high milk production. The determinant with the strongest
association was parity, showing that cows of higher parity have clearly increased odds of
developing milk fever. A sixth or higher parity cow had an odds ratio of 277.84 of developing
milk fever compared to a first parity cow. The second most important determinant was milk
fever in the previous lactation (OR=9.74). Several major factors, which previously have been
shown to have an effect on milk fever incidence, could not be studied due to limitations in the
available information. Furthermore, only univariable analyses were done although it is known
that several of the studied determinants have an effect on each other.

Main title:Determinants for milk fever An epidemiological study of Swedish dairy cows
Authors:Daresjö, Sofia
Supervisor:Emanuelson, Ulf and Kronqvist, Cecilia
Examiner:Alvåsen, Karin
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)
Keywords:cow, dairy, milk fever, parturient paresis, determinant, risk factor, Sweden
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Veterinary science and hygiene - General aspects
Animal diseases
Deposited On:06 Jul 2020 08:45
Metadata Last Modified:07 Jul 2020 01:01

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