Potential effects of straw bedding management on risks of contacting faeco-orally transmitted pathogens in dairy heifers.

Behnke, M.C., Christley, R. and Hurst, J. (2011) Potential effects of straw bedding management on risks of contacting faeco-orally transmitted pathogens in dairy heifers. Cattle Practice, 19 (3). p. 195.

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Abstract

Faeco-orally transmitted pathogens rely on an animal performing behaviours that result in oral contact with a surface (animal hides or environment) contaminated with pathogens. Variations in management practices are known to affect the behaviour of animals; studying management practices that cause variations in oral contact behaviours (OCBs) in cattle may identify strategies for reducing transmission of oral contact-mediated diseases. Behavioural observations were made on a group of 10 Holstein-Friesian heifers aged 7–11 months over a two week period, recording the frequency and duration of all behaviours and interactions. During week 1 the bedding was kept soiled at a standard that was minimally acceptable. During week 2, fresh straw was added on a daily basis. In week 1, there were significantly more OCBs and the distribution of OCBs between heifers was greater than in week 2. During both weeks, the proportion of OCBs directed at animal hides compared to environmental surfaces was 70:30. This study shows that in addition to providing a reservoir of pathogens, dirty straw increases the potential pathogen contact risk through altering OCBs and may increase speed of transmission through a heifer group; keeping animal hides clean is likely to be particularly important in reducing these risks.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Darren Roberts
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 10:44
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2018 10:50
URI: http://hau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/16833

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