Effects of retained fetal membranes treatments and dry period length on the subsequent lactation in cows - milk yield and somatic cell count
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Different treatment strategies in cows with retained fetal membranes (RFM) may affect subsequent lactation in various ways. Also, excessively short or long dry periods (DP) can decrease milk yield (MY), increase the risk of poor udder health, and increase the risk of RFM. This study aimed to evaluate how different treatment strategies of RFM affect subsequent lactation in cows, i.e., MY and udder health determined on the somatic cell count (SCC) bases in milk, expressed as somatic cell score (SCS). A secondary but equally important objective was to analyse the dry period length (DPL) effect on the subsequent lactation in cows. The cows from two herds were divided into three groups: group 1–healthy control; group 2–cows with RFM, removed manually and treated with intrauterine (IU) antibiotics (AB); group 3–cows with RFM, not removed, but treated IU with AB. The DP of cows was divided post factum into shortened (up to 46 days), traditional (47 to 70 days), or prolonged (over 70 days). Statistical analyses were performed using linear multiple regression and multivariate analyses. Differences were statistically significant when P <0.05. The effect of different RFM treatment strategies on MY and SCS was evaluated. There were no statistically significant effects of RFM treatments on the MY in the subsequent lactation. However, there was a tendency (P = 0.07) for SCS in standard lactation to be higher in cows in group 2. The highest economic losses, calculated from the decrease in MY, were detected in the same group. Significantly lower MY was observed in cows with a shortened DPL during the first 30 days PP (P <0.05). The DPL did not affect the SCS.