The importance of energy in reduced resistance
Optimal energy levels form the basis for good milk production, resistance to health challenges and fertility. The AHV Energy & Metabolism Program supports your animals’ natural resistance and energy balance for optimal energy intake, productivity, and fertility. What if your dairy cows’ resistance goes into a dip? With AHV’s products, you support the energy level and, thus, the resistance 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 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.
Minimize stress moments
Rest, cleanliness and routine are not only important guidelines for humans, they also work for your cows. These three things are essential to minimize 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 immune function during this period. Without exception, 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 the calf is born. Reduced immune system function results in a lack of specific immune cells that render pathogens 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 impacts 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 because the animal cannot act adequately enough, causing the animal to become 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. Since 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 4.5lbs 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 of health challenges.
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. Drenching with AHV Booster Powder is good for hydration and gets the cow drinking and eating again. This contributes to the removal of unfavorable bacteria.
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 Farm Advisor or via the contact form below.
E.A. Horst et al., (2018) Energy Cost of Inflammation in Dairy Cows Department of Animal Sciences, 1 Iowa State University, and 2 Virginia Tech University https://www.ruminantia.it/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/TRI-STATE-DAIRY-NUTRITION-CONFERENCE-2018.pdf
Vasudevan, P., Nair, M. K. M., Annamalai, T., & Venkitanarayanan, K. S. (2003). Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of bovine mastitis isolates of Staphylococcus aureus for biofilm formation. Veterinary microbiology, 92(1-2), 179-185.
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Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Farm Advisor will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate cow-specific advice.
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