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  • Author: Mert Pekcan x
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Impact of prepartum body condition score loss on metabolic status during the transition period and subsequent fertility in Brown Swiss dairy cows



The objectives of this study were to determine the role of a fall in pre-calving body condition score (BCS) in postpartum metabolic status and reproductive outcomes, and gauge the indicativeness of blood metabolites during the transition period.

Material and Methods

Cows were grouped based on BCS loss between days −14 ±3 and 0 relative to calving. Cows that lost no BCS were the BCS control group (BCS-C), cows that lost 0.25 BCS points the low BCS loss group (BCS-L), and those that lost 0.5 points or more the high BCS loss (BCS-H) group. Blood was taken on days −14 ±3, 3, 14, and 30 ±4 for determination of comprehensive metabolic panel biomarker levels. Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA) levels were quantified on postpartum examination days. Vaginal discharge scores, ovarian activity on day 30 ±4, and subsequent fertility parameters were evaluated.


The BCS-H cows had lower mean Ca concentrations before calving and on day 3, when the group’s BHBA and CK were higher (P < 0.05); on day 14 they had higher AST concentrations (P < 0.05). The BCS-L cows had greater bilirubin levels (P < 0.05). The BCS-H cows had lower cyclicity and higher endometritis rates. First service pregnancy rates were 50%, 50%, and 61.9%, open days 96.8, 95.75, and 89.2, and overall pregnancy rates 56.25%, 65%, and 80.95 % in the BCS-H, BCS-L, and BCS-C groups, respectively.


Prepartum BCS loss of ≥ 0.5 points could be associated with Brown Swiss cow low Ca and BHBA concentrations early postpartum, and with subsequent uterine health and overall pregnancy rate. Prepartum Ca concentration might be a prognostic biomarker for postpartum metabolic status and reproductive outcomes.

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