Dairy cows are susceptible to a large array of diseases and disorders. Good management practices can help avoid unhealthy cows, but it is also possible to improve livestock resistance and resilience to diseases through breeding. By breeding for better health, your cows will stay longer in your herd.
Infectious diseases such as mastitis, pneumonia, foot rot and many others usually require treatment with antibiotics. This is of growing concern to many consumers as the unrestricted use of antibiotics can lead to the development of resistant bacterial strains that can be transferred to humans and challenge treatment of certain diseases. Metabolic disorders such as ketosis, hypocalcaemia and displaced abomasum are a challenge on many dairy farms and require treatment or even surgical procedures. These can be costly treatments and result in significant loss of yield and reduced animal welfare. Reproductive disorders such as retained placenta and metritis can lead to delayed pregnancy or no pregnancy at all, which can result in unwanted culling of cows. A common denominator for all diseases and disorders affecting dairy cows are the financial losses due to reduced milk yield, treatment costs, increased workload, reduced animal welfare, and the undesirable use of antibiotics.