This study investigated the effect of milk yield on blood flow variables in the milk vein and musculophrenic vein in dairy cows.
Five healthy dry cows, five cows with a daily milk yield of 10 kg and five others with a daily milk yield of 20 kg underwent B-mode and colour Doppler sonographic examination. The diameter of the veins, blood flow velocities and blood flow volumes were measured on both sides in standing, non-sedated cows using a 7.5 MHz linear transducer.
Lactating cows had significantly higher blood flow velocities in the milk vein than dry cows; the maximum blood flow velocity of dry cows and those with a daily milk yield of 10 and 20 kg were 14.04, 38.77 and 39.49 cm/s, respectively, the minimum velocities were 0.63, 3.02 and 2.64 cm/s, respectively, and the mean maximum velocities were 8.21, 26.67 und 28.22 cm/s, respectively. Cows producing 20 kg of milk a day had a blood flow volume of 3.09 l/min, which was significantly higher than 0.79 l/min recorded in dry cows. Lactating cows had significantly higher mean maximum blood flow velocities in the musculophrenic vein than dry cows. Blood flow variables of both veins did not differ significantly between the left and right side.
This study showed that milk yield has a profound effect on blood flow variables in the milk vein and to a lesser extent the musculophrenic vein. This must be taken into consideration in future Doppler sonographic studies of these veins and possibly other vessels. Furthermore, measurements on one side are representative of both sides.