Effects of milk fever, ketosis, and lameness on milk yield in dairy cows

J Dairy Sci. 1999 Feb;82(2):288-94. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(99)75235-5.


The effects of milk fever, ketosis, and lameness were studied using data from 23,416 Finnish Ayrshire cows that calved in 1993 and were followed for one lactation (i.e., until culling or the next calving). Monthly test day milk yields were treated as repeated measurements within a cow in a mixed model analysis. Disease index variables were created to relate the timing of a disease to the measures of test day milk. Statistical models for each parity and disease included fixed effects of calving season, stage of lactation, and disease index. An autoregressive correlation structure was used to model the association among the repeated measurements. The milk yield of cows contracting milk fever was affected for a period of 4 to 6 wk after calving; the loss ranged from 1.1 to 2.9 kg/d, depending on parity and the time elapsed after milk fever diagnosis. Despite the loss, cows with milk fever produced 1.1 to 1.7 kg more milk/d than did healthy cows. Milk yield started to decline 2 to 4 wk before the diagnosis of ketosis and continued to decline for a varying time period after it. The daily milk loss was greatest within the 2 wk after the diagnosis, varying from 3.0 to 5.3 kg/d, depending on parity. Cows in parity 4 or higher were most severely affected by ketosis; the average total loss per cow was 353.4 kg. Lameness also affected milk yield; milk loss of cows diagnosed with foot and leg disorders varied between 1.5 and 2.8 kg/d during the first 2 wk after the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Ketosis / physiopathology
  • Ketosis / veterinary*
  • Lactation*
  • Lameness, Animal / physiopathology*
  • Parturient Paresis / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors