Comparison between linear models and survival analysis for genetic evaluation of clinical mastitis in dairy cattle

J Dairy Sci. 2005 Feb;88(2):797-803. doi: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(05)72744-2.


Clinical mastitis was analyzed with mixed linear models (LM) and survival analysis (SA) using data from the first 3 lactations of >200,000 Swedish Holstein cows having their first calving between 1995 and 2000. The model for both methods included fixed effects of year-month and age at calving, fixed regressions of proportions of heterosis and North American Holstein genes, and random effects of herd-year at calving and sire. For the LM, clinical mastitis was defined as a binary trait measured from 10 d before to 150 d after calving. For the SA, clinical mastitis was defined either as the time period from 10 d before calving to the day of first treatment or culling because of mastitis (uncensored record) or from 10 d before to the day of next calving, culling for reasons other than mastitis, movement to a new herd, or to lactation d 240 (censored record). The heritability estimates from SA (0.03 to 0.04) were higher than those obtained with the LM (0.01 to 0.03). Consequently, the accuracies of estimated transmitting abilities were also higher for the trait analyzed with SA. The difference between estimates from the 2 methods was greater for later lactations. This study reveals the potential of analyzing clinical mastitis data with SA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Linear Models*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / epidemiology
  • Mastitis, Bovine / genetics*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Analysis*