Risk factors for udder edema and its association with lactation performance on primiparous Holstein cows in a large Florida herd, U.S.A.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-221
Journal / PublicationPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


The objective of this study was to determine risk factors for udder edema (case-control study) and to evaluate the association of udder edema in primiparous Holstein cows with their lactation performance (cohort study). Values for the first 10 test day for milk yield, fat, protein, and somatic cell counts (SCC) linear score as well as mature equivalent (ME) 305 days milk yield, fat, protein, SCC linear score, and incidences of periparturient diseases from a computerized farm recording system were compared between primiparous cows with and without udder edema. Data consisted of 118 dairy heifers with udder edema, induced for parturition, and treated with diuretics and 889 control heifers that received no treatment. Primiparous cows giving birth to male calves, were 1.72 (1.01, 3.24; 95% CI) times more likely to develop udder edema than cows giving birth to female calves. Primiparous cows calving in winter season were 3.68 (1.09, 12.5; 95% CI) times more likely to develop udder edema than cows calving in summer. For each extra 10 cm in height the odds of udder edemas was 1.23 (1.03, 1.47; 95% CI). The first test day DHIA milk yield was lower in cows that developed udder edema (3.6 kg/day) than in normal cows. However, the subsequent test days and ME measurements were not statistically different between groups. Cows with udder edema were 1.62 (1.18, 2.14; 95% CI) times more likely to develop udder edema in the second lactation than control animals. It is concluded that the gender of the offspring, calving season and height at parturition were significant risk factors for udder edema. Only milk yield on the first DHIA test day was lower in cows with udder edema than in cows without udder edema. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Milk yield, Periparturient diseases, Risk factors, Udder edema

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