Consequences of immune suppression in fresh cows

During The Vital 90 Days (the timeframe from dry-off, approximately 60 days prior to calving to one month post calving), nearly all dairy cows experience an impairment of their immune system1, making them more vulnerable to infectious disease.

Typically, immune suppression represents a 25 to 40% decline1 in the function of neutrophils & lymphocytes, white blood cells that play a key role in the immune system. This puts the animal at a higher risk of infections.

Immune suppression around calving can leave cows more vulnerable to common transition diseases like mastitis2, metritis3 and retained placenta4 .


Almost all cows experience impaired neutrophil function around calving leading to an increased risks of infectious diseases

Immune related diseases affect production & reproduction performance parameters

Dealing with transition cow diseases eat into your time and disrupt the day-to-day management of your farm


[+] Double trouble

In addition to a reduced immune function, transition cows often experience a negative energy balance. When both are present, the two conditions can worsen the outcome.

Both conditions can enhance each other. Cows with an infection due to immune suppression (e.g. mastitis, metritis, retained placenta) will move, eat and ruminate less, compounding the negative energy balance.

Elevated ketone levels in cows with negative energy balance will reduce the activity and migration of white blood cells7, making cows more vulnerable to infection.

[+] The cost of immune related diseases

These diseases are not only frustrating and costly problems that disrupt the farm routine, but they also have a severe impact on animal health and well-being. The costs of an unsuccessful Vital 90 Days period are related to the consequences of transition cow diseases that may occur during this critical time.




[+] Références

1.Goff J.P., 1997, Journ. Dairy Sci. 80 (7) 1260-1268 - 2.Sordillo L.M., 2005, Livestock Prod. Sci., 98 89–99 - 3.Hammon D.S. et al, 2006, Vet. Immunology 113 21–29 - 4.Kimura K. et al, 2002, Journ. Dairy. Sci., 85 (3) 544–550 - 5.Duffield T., 2009, Journ. Dairy Sci. 92 (2): 571–580 - 6.Butler W.R. et al, 1989, Journ. Dairy Sci. 72: 767–783. 7. Hoeben D. et al., 1997, Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. 58 165–170.