1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
318-J Agriculture/Forestry Centre, Agriculture/Forestry Centre, Edmonton
A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES PhD Final Exam Seminar by Lauren Engelking. This seminar is open to the general public to attend, either in-person or online:
Meeting ID: 998 0965 6513 | Passcode: 587881
Thesis Topic: Investigating inflammation management of dairy cows during the calving transition period
PhD with Dr. Masahito Oba
The calving transition period is a challenging period for dairy cows characterized by negative energy balance, metabolic dysfunction, and inflammation, each of which may compromise milk production. Despite extensive research in this area, much is still unknown on how to best manage this period. The overall objective of this thesis research was to investigate inflammation management in dairy cows during the calving transition including 1) evaluation of nutritional (Chapter 2, 3, 5) and anti-inflammatory treatment (Chapter 2 and 3), 2) assessment of variation in transition cow physiology and metabolism, and the relationship with inflammation (Chapter 4 and 5), and 3) validation of a marker specific to gastrointestinal inflammation (Chapter 6). Chapter 2 and 3 reported dietary butyrate supplementation and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug administration were ineffective in improving milk yield or reducing systemic (Chapter 2) or uterine inflammation (Chapter 3) in dairy cows. Conversely, cows that were offered free choice hay for the first 5 DIM, separate from TMR, tended to have lower concentration of serum inflammatory marker inflammation, haptoglobin (Hp); however, milk yield was not increased, perhaps due to reduced DMI (Chapter 5). We found that inter-cow variation in pre-calving DMI, and metabolism and inflammation at calving, were associated with postpartum voluntary hay consumption; cows with lower pre-calving DMI, and higher concentration of plasma β-hydroxybutyrate and serum Hp consumed more free choice hay (Chapter 4). We also reported that even when cows were offered the same diet, there was variation in pre-calving DMI, and postpartum metabolism and inflammation, that were associated with variable postpartum cow physiology; cows with lower pre-calving DMI, and cows with greater concentration of plasma fatty acids and serum Hp at d 3, had greater gut permeability from d 3-5 (Chapter 5). Finally, Chapter 6 investigated fecal calprotectin as a marker of gastrointestinal tract inflammation, however, data obtained using commercially available calprotectin analysis kits were unreliable, thus calprotectin quantification was not possible. In conclusion, 1) dietary butyrate supplementation and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug administration are not effective in reducing postpartum inflammation, however, offering free choice hay may reduce markers of inflammation in fresh cows, 2) extensive inter-cow variation exists that influences cow selection of feed, and cow response to feed, and 3) validation of fecal calprotectin was unsuccessful, thus a marker specific to gastrointestinal inflammation is still needed.