Original Research

A study of the incidence of milk fever in Jersey and Holstein cows at a dairy farm in Beatrice, Zimbabwe

Bernard Chiwome, Erick Kandiwa, Borden Mushonga, Shepherd Sajeni, Gervais Habarugira
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 88 | a1457 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v88i0.1457 | © 2017 Bernard Chiwome, Erick Kandiwa, Borden Mushonga, Shepherd Sajeni, Gervais Habarugira | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 July 2016 | Published: 11 April 2017

About the author(s)

Bernard Chiwome, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia
Erick Kandiwa, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia
Borden Mushonga, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia
Shepherd Sajeni, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia
Gervais Habarugira, School of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Rwanda, Rwanda


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Abstract

A 3-year prospective study investigated the incidence of milk fever in Jersey and Holstein cows at a commercial dairy farm in Beatrice, Zimbabwe. The overall incidence of milk fever at the farm was 7.98%. Incidence of milk fever in Jerseys (14.78%) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that in Holsteins (4.82%). Incidence of milk fever in Jerseys beyond their fourth parity (24.85%) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that in Jerseys in their second (5.90%), third (6.49%) and fourth (8.73%) parities. Incidence of milk fever in Holsteins beyond their fourth parity (8.29%) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that in Holsteins in their second (1.43%), third (1.82%) and fourth (2.91%) parities. No significant difference existed in milk fever incidences between the second, third and fourth parities in either Jersey or Holstein cows. Incidence of milk fever in Jersey cows producing over 6114 litres per 305-day lactation (27.07%) was significantly higher than that in Jerseys producing less than 6114 litres of milk per 305-day lactation (p < 0.05). Incidence of milk fever in Holsteins producing more than 9149 litres per 305-day lactation (10.49%) was significantly higher than that in Holsteins producing less than 9149 litres of milk per 305-day lactation (p < 0.05). No significant difference existed between incidences of milk fever between the first, second and third quartile producers (p > 0.05) in either Jersey or Holstein cows. This study confirms that the risk of developing milk fever is higher in Jerseys and also increases with increasing parity and higher levels of milk production in both breeds, thus advocating for special considerations when dairy cows fit these criteria.

Keywords

parity; milk production; risk; milk fever; Jersey; Holstein; Zimbabwe

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