Veterinärstudenten som blev fascinerad av kossor

Thomas Manske Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

Thomas Manske, Leg Vet, Vet Med Dr, Technical Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

Previous professional experience:  Field internship, Swedish Breeding, SLU in Skara

Thomas wants to emphasize first and foremost that “the most rewarding thing for me has been and is the meetings with all the wonderful people who dedicate their time, energy and energy to our fantastic cattle. It is with humility in the face of their expertise that I try to help spread their knowledge and experience further. ”

Most illnesses are established long before calving

Although most cases of disease * in dairy cows occur in the period shortly after calving, the cause of them, according to a recently published scientific study, can be traced much earlier. The study showed that cows that fall ill after calving already eight weeks before this had elevated levels of both lactic acid and signs of inflammation in the blood - ie at the time of insemination. This suggests the importance of a long-lasting, low-grade inflammation. A typical symptom of such inflammatory processes is reduced feed intake - and the cows that later fell ill, the "risks", actually ate much less feed even then!  

How common are such risks then?

International authorities suggest that 50-70% of all cows may have some form of health or production disorder around calving, visible or not. Even though we are approaching the possibility of being able to identify risks already at the time of admission, we do not yet know enough to be able to recommend specific preventive measures. 

"50-70% of all cows may have some form of health or production disorder around calving, visible or not."

What then causes the problem?

A follow-up study showed that at the group level, the average level of calcium in the blood at the time of admission differed between healthy cows and those who later developed disorders: Lower calcium at admission was associated with a higher risk of morbidity around and after calving.  It is probably not news to you who work with cows that:

calcium deficiency → decreased feed intake → increased fat breakdown → inflammatory process.  

This gives a vicious spiral because  

Inflammation → reduced feed intake → calcium deficiency.


However, we do not know what the initial trigger is - yet ...

How can you know?

Systematic testing of the cows' energy and calcium balance after calving can show how the herd "feels". Unfortunately, the only handheld calcium test with some precision at present is stubbornly expensive (for most people). With the energy balance, it's different! During this year's veterinary congress, two doctoral veterinarians, Hanna Lomander (District Veterinarians) and Lena Stengärde (Växa Sverige), advocated examination of the content of the ketone body BHB in the blood as a good measure of negative energy balance.  

According to them, data on elevated BHB levels in newly calved cows ("ketosis") can be used at the individual level to identify cows in need of extra care (such as daily shock doses of eg propylene glycol) as well as at herd level. In the event of a high incidence of ketosis and / or subsequent morbidity and reduced production, advice regarding care, feeding and housing of the zincs is required. Trends in the occurrence of ketosis can then be used to show that the crew's improvement work is yielding results!  

Systematic testing thus ensures adequate care of individual cows while at the same time capturing signals at herd level and then implementing the changes in routines ** required to ensure animal health, welfare and productivity.

"There are many good reasons to systematically examine the cows' energy balance after calving!"

An app can make it easier

The use of an app, such as Agricams KetosKoll , can significantly facilitate the systematic work on the farms, partly by compiling and visualizing the results, and partly by guiding the user to the right measures. Such an app can thus be a good tool for the farmer to identify needs for measures at individual and herd level, as well as for analysis and follow-up for the farm veterinarian and other advisors who work to help staff improve cows' health, welfare, fertility and milk production. 

Full of new positive opportunities await 

Today's rapid technological development suggests that in the animal production of the future - with the help of e.g. sensor technology and advanced algorithms - will be able to identify individual animals' status and needs in real time at a level we can only fantasize about today. In a hitherto unimaginable way, this may enable targeted efforts and measures to ensure the health and welfare of the animals, while at the same time optimizing the utilization of efforts and thereby minimizing both unnecessary resource utilization and climate impact. At the same time, the door will also be opened for new important areas of activity for veterinarians and other advisers. It is a tomorrow full of positive opportunities - and Agricams KetosKoll gives a taste of what awaits!

* And other things such as problems with reduced production, fertility and welfare

** farm routines such as feeding, housing and care of the sinks

KetosKoll App
PortaBHB ketone test


The app-based ketosis meter

Improve the conditions for your cows and provide the very best start after calving with KetosKoll.

Measuring the nutritional balance with a ketosis meter gives an early signal if the cow is lagging in nutritional balance, even before she shows any problems. By this, you can help her catch up and avoid problems in the future. The app compiles values from several cows to get a grip on how well the cows have coped through the sensitive period around calving. The app also creates recommended actions so you can at an early stage change the cows’ conditions around the time of calving.

✓ See recommended actions for the cows directly in the app 

✓ Discover problems before the cow shows any problems

✓ Easy to use

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The two challenges in the cow’s year – How to avoid ketosis and lack of calcium?

See Thomas Manske’s talk (Available on the swedish site only)