The importance of energy in reduced health
Optimal energy levels form the basis for good milk production, health and fertility. The AHV Energy & Metabolism Program supports your animal’s natural immune system and energy balance for optimal energy intake, productivity, and fertility. But what if your dairy cows’ immune system goes into a dip? With AHV’s products you support the energy level and thus the strength of the immune system of your dairy cows. This is important as healthy cows have an optimal reproduction cycle and fertility, and are more resilient against external challenges
Why is energy important for dairy cows?
Every biological reaction in a dairy cow’s body requires energy. Without sufficient energy:
- The immune system does not work optimally;
- Vital organs do not work properly;
- Cells do not multiply optimally;
- Bones and muscle tissue do not grow optimally;
- The cow does not produce milk up to optimal levels;
- Conception rate will go down.
Therefore, adequate energy intake is essential for all of the following functions:
- Maintenance: Includes all essential metabolic processes requiring energy, such as heart rate, brain activity, respiration and all other vital functions.
- Growth: Cell and tissue growth.
- Health: The immune system, like any other body process, needs energy to work properly.
- Reproduction: Energy modulates the synthesis of hormones that regulate and maintain reproduction.
- Pregnancy: During this period, the cow needs to consume enough energy to be self-sufficient and also to support pregnancy development, this is especially challenging in the last trimester.
- Lactation: The cells in the mammary gland require significant amounts of energy to produce milk. Energy is also essential for the synthesis of milk fat, protein and lactose.
Minimise stress moments
Rest, cleanliness and regularity are not only important guidelines for humans, they also work for your cows. These three things are essential to minimise stress moments, build resistance and keep bacterial infiltration pressure low on a farm. Regardless of the production system, the aim should be good housing, good feeding, good milking and appropriate animal care. A cow that does not experience stress is comfortable and has good milk production.
Despite all proactive measures, it is normal for a dairy cow to encounter natural stress from time to time. The transition period is a good example of this. The period 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after calving is a critical period for the health of your dairy cows. Calf growth and the start of milk production take precedence over the immune function during this period. Without exception, the immune function is reduced in all cows during this period.
What are the consequences of a suppressed immune system?
Factors such as (heat) stress and negative energy balance will worsen the immunity dip during the transition period. This can cause new or recurring health challenges. These include reduced udder health and complications after calf birth. Reduced immune system function results in a lack of specific immune cells that render germs harmless, thus compromising cow health.
In addition, biofilm in the cow poses a danger. Harmful bacteria are hidden in the biofilm. This is a slimy matrix formed by the bacteria themselves as a survival mechanism. Bacteria in a biofilm are protected from the influences of traditional methods and the immune system. Bacteria are “waiting”, for the right moment to come out in mass. These are times when the animal’s immune system is suppressed. Reduced immune function increases the survival rate of the bacteria outside the biofilm. The animal cannot act adequately enough and becomes sick. Biofilm formation in the udder is very notorious and is associated with recurrent udder health challenges.
An activated immune system takes a huge amount of energy
When a cow faces health challenges, the immune system is activated. Because activating the immune system to produce white blood cells is now the priority, a lot of energy goes to the immune system. In the case of long-term activation, this priority persists (E.A. Horst et al., 2018). It is estimated that immune activation in a dairy cow consumes about 1 g glucose/kg BW/day, or about 2kg glucose/day in an adult cow. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of energy supply to other important systems. This change in energy distribution is essential but has far-reaching consequences for the animal’s health. It is therefore extra important to meet the energy needs of your cows especially during these periods. Animals that do not feel well eat less or not at all. AHV Booster Bolus encourages the cow to use energy from the ration more efficiently and promotes rumen and liver functionality. When there is a need for a lot of quick energy because the cow is not eating, drenching with AHV Booster Powder is the best solution in combination with the AHV Booster Bolus. Drinking or drenching with AHV Booster Powder is good for moisture balance, and also gets the cow drinking and eating again. This contributes to the removal of unfavourable bacteria. If drinking or drenching is not an option, we recommend 1-2x AHV Booster Paste given in combination with AHV Booster Bolus. The AHV Booster products are part of the Energy & Metabolism Program. Would you like to know what the products can do for your cows’ energy supply? Then contact your AHV Territory Manager or via the contact form below.
These products are mentioned:
AHV Booster Bolus
AHV Booster Powder
AHV Booster Paste
Get in touch
Would you like to be visited by an Territory Manager to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Territory Manager will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate farm-specific advice.
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