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Title: Lameness in dairy cows : determining effects on performance-related parameters and the basis of individual variation in susceptibility to digital dermatitis
Author: Palmer, Maeve Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 5165
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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Lameness is a major problem for the dairy industry, leading to reduced dairy cow welfare and productivity. One major cause of lameness is digital dermatitis (DD) which affects the skin above the heels. The aims of this thesis were to review potential sources of between-animal variation in susceptibility to DD; to examine relationships between characteristics of the skin or behaviour of dairy cows and susceptibility to DD; and to examine relationships between lameness and both feeding behaviour and milk yield in early and mid-lactation. Relationships between skin characteristics and susceptibility to DD were investigated using heel skin from susceptible and non-susceptible cows. There was no relationship between susceptibility and skin permeability or morphology, but treatment with slurry increased skin permeability. Relationships between behaviour and susceptibility to DD were examined by recording the behaviour of DD-free dairy cows in early lactation and comparing the behaviour of those which did and did not develop DD. DD-susceptible cows were more frequently observed standing half in cubicles and in the passageway and short walkways, where back feet were in contact with slurry. Relationships between lameness and feeding behaviour and between lameness and milk yield were examined in early and mid-lactation. Lameness affected the number and size of meals and total feeding duration at both time points, but a reduced feed intake was found only in early lactation. A parity-dependent relationship between lameness and milk yield was found in early but not mid-lactation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available