The four Nordic countries: Denmark (DK), Finland (FIN), Norway (NO) and Sweden (SE), all have national databases in which mainly records of treated animals are maintained. Recently, the completeness of locomotor disorder records in these databases has been evaluated using farmers’ recordings as a reference level. The objective of the present study was to see how previous estimates of completeness figures are affected by the criteria determining whether a recording in the database is to be judged correct. These demands included date of diagnosis and disease classification. In contrast with the previous study, a period of time between the date of disease recording in the database and by the farmer was allowed. Further, the calculations were brought to bear on individual locomotor diagnoses instead of a common locomotor disease complex code.
Randomly selected dairy herds (≥ 15 cows) were invited to participate. During two 2-month periods in 2008 the farmers recorded the diseases they observed on the farm and their recordings constituted a farmer database (FD). These recordings were compared to disease recordings in the National Databases (ND). Earlier calculations of completeness for locomotor complex cases assuming an exact match on date were compared with ±7 day and ±30 day discrepancies calculated in this study.
The farmers in DK, FIN, NO and SE recorded 426, 147, 97 and 193 locomotor disorders, respectively. When a window of ±7 days was allowed there was a relative increase in completeness figures lying in the range of 24–100%. Further increases were minor, or non-existent, when the window was expanded to ±30 days. The same trend was seen for individual diagnoses.
In all four of the Nordic countries a common pattern can be observed: a further increase in completeness occurs when individual locomotor diagnoses recorded by the farmer are permitted to match any locomotor diagnosis recorded in the ND. Completeness increased when both time span and different diagnoses within the locomotor complex were allowed.
Nordic dairy disease databases; Validation; Completeness; Farmer disease recording; Locomotor disorders
Data from the national dairy cow recording systems during 1997 were used to calculate lactation-specific cumulative risk of mastitis treatments and cumulative risk of removal from the herds in Denmark, Finland Norway and Sweden. Sweden had the lowest risk of recorded mastitis treatments during 305 days of lactation and Norway had the highest risk. The incidence risk of recorded mastitis treatments during 305 days of lactation in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden was 0.177, 0.139, 0.215 and 0.127 for first parity cows and 0.228, 0.215, 0.358 and 0.204 for parities higher than three, respectively. The risk of a first parity cow being treated for mastitis was almost 3 times higher at calving in Norway than in Sweden. The period with the highest risk for mastitis treatments was from 2 days before calving until 14 days after calving and the highest risk for removal was from calving to 10 days after calving in all countries.
The study clearly demonstrated differences in bovine mastitis treatment patterns among the Nordic countries. The most important findings were the differences in treatment risks during different lactations within each country, as well as differences in strategies with respect to the time during lactation mastitis was treated.
Data recording; mastitis treatment; Nordic countries; dairy herds; cumulative incidence risk; culling
Mastitis is one of the major threats to animal health, in organic farming as well as conventional. Preliminary studies of organic dairy herds have indicated better udder health in such herds, as compared to conventional herds. The aim of this paper was to further study mastitis and management related factors in certified organic dairy herds.
An observational study of 26 certified organic dairy herds in mid-eastern Sweden was conducted during one year. A large-animal practitioner visited the herds three times and clinically examined and sampled cows, and collected information about general health and management routines. Data on milk production and disorders treated by a veterinarian in the 26 herds, as well as in 1102 conventional herds, were retrieved from official records. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between herd type (organic vs. conventional) and incidence of disorders.
The organic herds that took part in the study ranged in size from 12 to 64 cows, in milk production from 3772 to 10334 kg per cow and year, and in bulk milk somatic cell counts from 83000 to 280000 cells/ml. The organic herds were found to have a lower incidence of clinical mastitis, teat injuries, and a lower proportion of cows with a high somatic cell count (as indicated by the UDS, Udder Disease Score) compared to conventional herds. The spectrum of udder pathogenic bacteria was similar to that found in other Swedish studies. Treatment of mastitis was found to be similar to what is practised in conventional herds. Homeopathic remedies were not widely used in the treatment of clinical mastitis.
The calves in most of these organic herds suckled their dams for only a few days, which were not considered to substantially affect the udder health. The main management factor that was different from conventional herds was the feeding strategy, where organic herds used a larger share of forage.
Udder health in Swedish organic herds appears to be better than in conventional herds of comparable size and production. The major difference in management between the two types of farms is the proportion of concentrates fed. The mechanisms explaining the association between intensity of feeding and udder health in dairy cows require further research.
Factors relating to the occurrence of mastitis were studied on 12 Irish dairy herds with histories of elevated somatic cell count (SCC) and/or increased incidence of clinical mastitis cases. Milk recording data were analysed, housing conditions and calving areas were examined; dry cow therapy, clinical mastitis records, milking technique and aspects of milking machine function were assessed.
Herds with a ratio of less than 110 cubicles per 100 cows were more likely to experience environmental mastitis. Herds with inadequate calving facilities, where cows spent prolonged periods on straw bedding, were likely to acquire environmental mastitis. In the majority of the herds, the selection of dry cow therapy lacked adequate planning. The majority of farmers took no action to reduce pain experienced by cows suffering mastitis. Deficiencies in parlour hygiene were evident in all herds experiencing elevation in SCC.
Cattle; Cows; Mastitis; Milking routine; Cow housing; Dry cow therapy
The aim of this study was to compare the performance of hospital care in four Nordic countries: Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Using national discharge registries and cost data from hospitals, cost efficiency in the production of somatic hospital care was calculated for public hospitals. Data were collected using harmonised definitions of inputs and outputs for 184 hospitals and data envelopment analysis was used to calculate Farrell efficiency estimates for the year 2002. Results suggest that there were marked differences in the average hospital efficiency between Nordic countries. In 2002, average efficiency was markedly higher in Finland compared to Norway and Sweden. This study found differences in cost efficiency that cannot be explained by input prices or differences in coding practices. More analysis is needed to reveal the causes of large efficiency disparities between Nordic hospitals.
Hospitals; Organisational efficiency; DEA; DRG; International comparisons
Cows are the main economic production units of Ireland's cattle industry. Therefore, demographic information, including overall numbers and survival rates, are relevant to the Irish agricultural industry. However, few data are available on the demographics of cows within a national population, either in Ireland or elsewhere, despite the recent development of comprehensive national cattle databases in many EU Member States. This study has sought: to determine the rate of cow culling from the national herd; to determine the rate of culling by type (dairy, beef), age, method of exit, date of exit and interval between last calving and exit; to calculate the national cow on-farm mortality rate; and to compare the Irish rates with published data from other countries. This work was conducted using data recorded in the national Cattle Movement Monitoring System (CMMS). Culling refers to the exit of cows from the national herd, as a result of death but regardless of reason, and cow-culling rate was calculated as the number of cow exits (as defined above) each year divided by the number of calf births in the same year. Culling rate was determined by type (dairy or beef), date of birth, method of exit (slaughter or on-farm death), month of exit and interval between last calving and exit. The average cow-culling rate during 2003 to 2006 was 19.6% (21.3% for dairy, 18% for beef). While comparisons must be treated with caution, it concluded that the overall rates of culling in Ireland fell within published internationally accepted norms. The on-farm mortality rate of 3.2-4.1% was similar to that reported in comparable studies.
abattoir slaughter; CMMS; cull cow; national herd turnover rate; on-farm-death; population balance
Pre-recorded register data from dairy herds are available in almost all Nordic countries. These databases can be used for research purposes, and one of the research areas is animal welfare. The aim of this study was to investigate if pre-recorded register data could be used to identify herds with good welfare, and to investigate if a combination of register data sets could be used to be able to more correctly distinguish between herds with good welfare and herds with welfare deficiencies.
As a first step, nine animal-based measurements on calves, young stock and cows in 55 randomly selected herds were performed on-farm as the basis for a classification of welfare at the herd level. The definition for being a case herd with “good welfare” was no score lying among the 10% worst in any of the nine welfare measurements. Twenty-eight of the 55 herds were cases according to this definition. As a second step, 65 potential welfare indicators, based on register data in a national dairy database, were identified by expert opinion. In the final step, the extent to which the suggested welfare indicators predicted farms’ as having good welfare according to the stated definition was assessed. Moreover, the effect of combining in sequence a previously developed model that identified herds with poor welfare with the present model identifying herds with good welfare was investigated.
The final set of welfare indicators used to identify herds with good animal welfare included two fertility measures, cow mortality, stillbirth rate, mastitis incidence and incidence of feed-related diseases (including gastrointestinal disturbances but excluding paralyses and cramps). This set had a test sensitivity of correctly classifying herds with no score lying among the 10% worst of the nine welfare measurements of 96 %. However, the specificity of the test was only 56% indicating difficulties for the test to correctly classifying herds with one or more scores lying among the 10% worst. Combining the previously developed model with the present model, improved the welfare classification.
This study shows that pre-collected register data may be used to give approval to dairy farms with “good welfare” and that combining different sets of register data can improve the classification of herd welfare.
Characteristics of 94 veterinary surgeons associated with delivering preventive herd-level strategies to control mastitis, lameness and Johne's disease were investigated using two multinomial models. The response variables were ‘Gold Standard Monitoring’ (including on-going data analysis, risk assessments and laboratory testing), and a lower level of involvement called ‘Regular Control Advice’. Although the sample was biased towards those who spend the majority of their time with dairy cows, 69 per cent currently had no involvement in Gold Standard Monitoring for lameness, 60 per cent no involvement with Johne's, and 52 per cent no involvement with mastitis. The final model predicted that an assistant without a postgraduate cattle qualification, who had spent no time on dairy cattle continuous professional development (CPD) in the last year, had an 88 per cent chance of having no involvement with Gold Standard Monitoring for any disease, versus <5 per cent chance for a CPD ‘enriched’ partner with a postgraduate cattle qualification; there was <1 per cent chance this assistant would be involved with Gold Standard Monitoring of all three diseases on one or more farms, versus a 58 per cent chance for this partner. CPD and employment status were also associated with markedly different probabilities for delivering Regular Control Advice. Increased postgraduate education may further veterinary involvement of this nature.
Dairy cattle; Herd health; Veterinary profession
Incidence of prostate cancer (PCa) has greatly increased in the Nordic region over the past two decades, following the advent of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. Consequently, interpreting temporal trends in PCa has become difficult, and the impact of changes in exposure to causal factors is uncertain.
To reveal geographic differences and temporal trends in PCa in the Nordic countries. Because the recorded incidence of PCa has been profoundly influenced by PSA screening, we focused our analyses primarily on PCa mortality.
Design, setting, and participants
We analyzed national PCa incidence and mortality data from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1965 to 2006 using the PC-NORDCAN software program and the online NORDCAN database.
Cumulative incidence and cumulative mortality from PCa were calculated for selected calendar years during four decades, along with age-standardized mortality rates. Incidence data in NORDCAN come from individual countries’ cancer registries, and mortality data come from national mortality registries.
Results and limitations
From 1965 to 2006, 172 613 deaths from PCa were reported in the four Nordic countries. A substantial rise in incidence was observed across the region, with some geographic variation, since the late 1980s. In contrast, both disease-specific mortality rates and cumulative risk of PCa mortality lacked consistent temporal trends over the same period. Cumulative risk of PCa mortality ranged between 3.5% and 7.5% in the region over four decades, whereas cumulative incidence jumped from about 9% to >20%. Mortality has remained fairly constant among the countries, with a minimally lower risk in Finland.
Unlike most malignancies, the occurrence of lethal PCa showed minimal geographic variation and lacked consistent temporal trends over four decades. These findings may guide our search for important causes of PCa, a malignancy with etiology that is still largely unknown.
Cancer trends; Mortality; Nordic region; Prostate cancer
Research has indicated that a number of different factors affect whether an animal receives treatment or not when diseased. The aim of this paper was to evaluate if herd or individual animal characteristics influence whether cattle receives veterinary treatment for disease, and thereby also introduce misclassification in the disease recording system.
The data consisted mainly of disease events reported by farmers during 2004. We modelled odds of receiving veterinary treatment when diseased, using two-level logistic regression models for cows and young animals (calves and heifers), respectively. Model parameters were estimated using three procedures, because these procedures have been shown, under some conditions, to produce biased estimates for multi-level models with binary outcomes.
Cows located in herds mainly consisting of Swedish Holstein cows had higher odds for veterinary treatment than cows in herds mainly consisting of Swedish Red cows. Cows with a disease event early in lactation had higher odds for treatment than when the event occurred later in lactation. There were also higher odds for veterinary treatment of events for cows in January and April than in July and October. The odds for veterinary treatment of events in young animals were higher if the farmer appeared to be good at keeping records. Having a disease event at the same date as another animal increased the odds for veterinary treatment for all events in young animals, and for lameness, metabolic, udder and other disorders, but not for peripartum disorders, in cows. There were also differences in the odds for veterinary treatment between disease complexes, both for cows and young animals.
The random effect of herd was significant in both models and accounted for 40–44% of the variation in the cow model and 30–46% in the young animal model.
We conclude that cow and herd characteristics influence the odds for veterinary treatment and that this might bias the results from studies using data from the cattle disease database based on veterinary practice records.
One major problem in dairy cattle husbandry is the prevalence of udder infections. In today’s breeding programmes, top priority is being given to making animal evaluation more cost-effective and reliable and less time-consuming. We proposed tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), lactoferrin (LTF) and macrophage-expressed lysozyme (mLYZ) genes as potential DNA markers in the improvement of immunity to mastitis.
This study included 588 Polish Holstein-Friesian cows kept on one farm located in the north-western region of Poland. All clinical cases of mastitis in the herd under study were recorded by a qualified veterinarian employed by the farm. The following indicators were applied to determine udder immunity to mastitis in the cows under study: morbidity rate (MR), duration of mastitis (DM) and extent of mastitis (EM). TNF-α, mLYZ and LTF genotypes were identified by real-time PCR method, using SimpleProbe technology. Due to the very low frequency of mLYZ allele T, the gene was excluded from further analysis.
A statistical analysis of associations between TNF-α and LTF genes and immunity to mastitis were performed using three models: 1) a parity-averaged model including only additive effects of the genes; 2) a parity-averaged model including both additive and epistatic effects of the genes; and 3) a parity-specific model including only additive effects of the genes.
With the first and second models it was revealed that the genes effects on the applied indicators of immunity to mastitis were non-significant whereas with the third one the effects were found to be statistically significant. Particularly noteworthy was the finding that the effects of TNF-α and LTF varied depending on age (parity). The alleles which were linked to high immunity to mastitis in lower parities appeared to be less favourable in higher parities.
These interactions might be related to inflamm-ageing, that is an increased susceptibility to infection due to immune system deregulation that progresses with age. Such pattern of interactions makes it impossible to use the genes in question in marker-assisted selection aimed at reducing heritable susceptibility to mastitis. This is because the immune mechanisms behind resistance to infections proved to be too complex.
Mastitis; Tumor necrosis factor; Lactoferrin; Immunity; Inflamm-ageing
Bovine mastitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for major economic losses to the dairy industry, and more-effective therapeutic or preventive approaches are sorely needed. The predominance of staphylococcal capsular polysaccharide types 5 and 8 among human isolates from many sources is well documented, but there seems to be a greater variation in the distribution of capsular serotypes among isolates from cows. A total of 636 isolates of S. aureus from cases of bovine mastitis in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and the United States were investigated for production of capsular polysaccharide types 5 and 8. Approximately half of all the European isolates tested were of serotype 8, although variation among countries and among isolates of clinical and subclinical origin was observed. Sweden had the highest frequency (87%) of serotypeable isolates, and Finland had the lowest (48%). Capsule types 5 and 8 accounted for only 42% of the U.S. isolates tested. A few isolates showed weak reactivity with CP5 antiserum in a colony blot assay, and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay inhibition method confirmed that the levels of capsule produced by these strains were <10% of those produced by control strains. Fifty isolates that failed to react with capsular antisera all possessed the genes for production of capsular polysaccharide type 5 or 8. These results underscore the variability in capsule production by bovine isolates of S. aureus from different geographic regions. This information is important for the rational design of a capsule-based vaccine to prevent S. aureus bovine mastitis.
Data were collated for an independent scientific analysis from 2 international, multicenter studies that had compared the efficacy of 3 different cephalosporin-containing intramammary preparations in the treatment of clinical mastitis in dairy cattle [cefalexin (first generation) in combination with kanamycin; cefquinome (fourth generation); and cefoperazone (third generation)]. Quarters were assessed using standard bacteriological techniques before treatment and at 16 and 25 d posttreatment. Additional data were also available on individual cows and study farms, including parity, breed, and cow somatic cell count histories, herd bulk milk somatic cell counts, and farm management regimens. Sufficient data for analysis were available from a total of 491 cases on 192 farms in 3 countries (United Kingdom, France, and Germany) with up to 16 cases being recruited from any one farm. Clinical cases were of diverse etiology, representing both contagious and environmental pathogens. Univariable analysis demonstrated that quarters in the cefalexin + kanamycin and cefquinome treatment groups were not significantly different from each other, but were both significantly more likely to be pathogen free posttreatment than quarters in the cefoperazone group. Multivariable analysis was undertaken using conventional random effects models. Two models were built, with the first incorporating only information available to the practitioner at the time of treatment and the second including all information collected during the study. These models indicated that country, pretreatment rectal temperature (above-normal temperature associated with an increased chance of being pathogen free posttreatment), individual cow somatic cell count (increased somatic cell count associated with a decreased chance of being pathogen free posttreatment), and pathogen (Staphylococcus aureus isolation associated with a decreased chance of being pathogen free posttreatment) were useful predictors of pathogen free status; parity, yield, bulk milk somatic cell counts, and other farm management factors were not. The importance of country in the analysis demonstrates the need to generate local data when assessing treatment regimens. In addition, these results suggest that the factors important in predicting the outcome of treatment of clinical mastitis cases may be dissimilar to those reported to affect the likelihood of cure when treating subclinical intramammary infections.
clinical mastitis; treatment; risk factor; cephalosporin
In Denmark, it has recently become mandatory for all dairy farmers with more than 100 cows to sign up for a herd health programme. Three herd health programmes are available. These differ in a number of aspects, including the frequency of veterinary visits and the farmer’s access to prescription drugs. The objective of this study was to investigate whether dairy farmers’ behavioural intentions, i.e. to call a veterinarian or start medical treatment on the day that they detect a cow with mild clinical mastitis (MCM), are different depending on the type of herd health programme.
A questionnaire survey based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) was conducted. TPB proposes that a person’s behavioural intention is strongly correlated with his or her actual behaviour. Three behavioural factors determine the behavioural intention: attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control. Each of these factors is decided by a set of beliefs, each of which in turn is weighted by an evaluation: 1) the expected outcomes of performing the behaviour, 2) what a person believes that others think of the behaviour, and 3) the person’s perceived power to influence the behaviour.
A set of statements about the treatment of MCM based on interviews with 38 dairy farmers were identified initially. The statements were rephrased as questions and the resulting questionnaire was distributed to 400 randomly selected Danish dairy farmers who use the two most restrictive herd health programmes, either Core or Module1, and to all 669 farmers with the least restrictive herd health programme, Module2. The association between intention and the herd health programme was modelled using logistic regression.
The farmers with the Module2 herd health programme had a significantly higher behavioural intention to perform the behaviour, when compared to farmers with a more restrictive herd health programme (OR = 2.1, p < 0.0001).
Danish dairy farmers who participate in Module2 herd health programme had a higher intention to treat cases of MCM, compared to farmers who participate in a more restrictive herd health programme in which the veterinarian initiates treatments.
Farmer behaviour; Theory of Planned Behaviour; Mild clinical mastitis; Herd health programme
Background and purpose The possibility of comparing results and of pooling the data has been limited for the Nordic arthroplasty registries, because of different registration systems and questionnaires. We have established a common Nordic database, in order to compare demographics and the results of total hip replacement surgery between countries. In addition, we plan to study results in patient groups in which the numbers are too small to be studied in the individual countries.
Material and methods Primary total hip replacements (THRs) from 1995–2006 were selected for the study. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway contributed data. A common code set was made and Cox multiple regression, with adjustment for age, sex, and diagnosis was used to calculate prosthesis survival with any revision as endpoint.
Results 280,201 operations were included (69,242 from Denmark, 140,821 from Sweden, and 70,138 from Norway). Females accounted for 60% of the patients in Denmark and Sweden, and 70% in Norway. Childhood disease was the cause of 3.1%, 1.8%, and 8.7% of the operations in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, respectively. Resurfacing of hips accounted for 0.5% or less in all countries. The posterior approach was used in 91% of cases in Denmark, 60% in Sweden, and 24% in Norway. Cemented THRs were used in 46% of patients in Denmark, in 89% of patients in Sweden, and in 79% of patients in Norway.
Of the 280,201 primary THRs, 9,596 (3.4%) had been revised. 10-year survival was 92% (95% CI: 91.6–92.4) in Denmark, 94% (95% CI: 93.6–94.1) in Sweden, and 93% (95% CI: 92.3–93.0) in Norway. In Denmark, 34% of the revisions were due to dislocation, as compared to 23% in Sweden and Norway. Replacement of only cup or liner constituted 44% of the revisions in Denmark, 29% in Sweden, and 33% in Norway.
Interpretation This unique common Nordic collaboration has shown differences between the countries concerning demographics, prosthesis fixation, and survival. The large number of patients in this database significantly widens our horizons for future research.
Plasma α-tocopherol (vit E) and blood selenium (Se) concentrations in February were determined in samples from 314 dairy cows in Norway, selected to provide a representative subset of the Norwegian dairy cow population. Each sample was followed by a questionnaire with information about feeding of the cow at the time of sampling. The results were correlated to herd data and to calving and health data for each cow from the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System and the Norwegian Cattle Health Recording System. The mean concentrations were 6.9 μg vit E per ml plasma and 0.16 μg Se per g blood. Both levels were highest in mid lactation. Plasma vit E varied with the amount of silage fed to the cow, while blood Se varied with the amount of concentrates and mineral supplements, and with geographical region. No differences in vit E or Se levels were found between cows with recorded treatments for mastitis, parturient paresis or reproductive disorders in the lactation during or immediately prior to sampling, and those without such treatments. For ketosis, a small difference in blood Se was found between the groups with or without recorded treatments. It is concluded that winter-fed lactating cows in Norway had an adequate plasma level of vit E and a marginal-to-adequate level of Se.
Vitamin E; selenium; dairy cows; feeding; health; mastitis; reproduction; Norway
Background and purpose
The number of national arthroplasty registries is increasing. However, the methods of registration, classification, and analysis often differ.
We combined data from 3 Nordic knee arthroplasty registers, comparing demographics, methods, and overall results. Primary arthroplasties during the period 1997–2007 were included. Each register produced a dataset of predefined variables, after which the data were combined and descriptive and survival statistics produced.
The incidence of knee arthroplasty increased in all 3 countries, but most in Denmark. Norway had the lowest number of procedures per hospital—less than half that of Sweden and Denmark. The preference for implant brands varied and only 3 total brands and 1 unicompartmental brand were common in all 3 countries. Use of patellar button for total knee arthroplasty was popular in Denmark (76%) but not in Norway (11%) or Sweden (14%). Uncemented or hybrid fixation of components was also more frequent in Denmark (22%) than in Norway (14%) and Sweden (2%).
After total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis, the cumulative revision rate (CRR) was lowest in Sweden, with Denmark and Norway having a relative risk (RR) of 1.4 (95% CI: 1.3–1.6) and 1.6 (CI: 1.4–1.7) times higher. The result was similar when only including brands used in more than 200 cases in all 3 countries (AGC, Duracon, and NexGen). After unicompartmental arthroplasty for osteoarthritis, the CRR for all models was also lowest in Sweden, with Denmark and Norway having RRs of 1.7 (CI: 1.4–2.0) and 1.5 (CI: 1.3–1.8), respectively. When only the Oxford implant was analyzed, however, the CRRs were similar and the RRs were 1.2 (CI: 0.9–1.7) and 1.3 (CI: 1.0–1.7).
We found considerable differences between the 3 countries, with Sweden having a lower revision rate than Denmark and Norway. Further classification and standardization work is needed to permit more elaborate studies.
Mortality risk in Danish dairy cows has more than doubled since 1990 (from 2% in 1990 to 5% in 2005). Until now, registrations about dead cows in the Danish Cattle Database have not included information about whether the cow died unassisted or was euthanized.
We interviewed a random sample of 196 Danish dairy farmers that had reported a dead cow to the Danish Cattle Database in 2002 and 196 dairy farmers that had reported a dead cow in 2006. Our objectives were to evaluate the proportion of euthanized cows, changes in the behaviour of farmers regarding euthanasia of cows over the years and possible reasons for these changes.
It seems that the threshold for euthanasia of cows among farmers has changed. Farmers generally reported a lower threshold for euthanasia compared to 5–10 years ago.
The threshold for euthanasia of cows has, according to the dairy farmers, become lower. This might have positive impacts on animal welfare as more seriously ill cows are euthanized in the herds and not put through a period of suffering associated with disease and treatment or transported to a slaughterhouse in poor condition.
A nationwide health card recording system for dairy cattle was introduced in Norway in 1975 (the Norwegian Cattle Health Services). The data base holds information on mastitis occurrences on an individual cow basis. A reduction in mastitis frequency across the population is desired, and for this purpose risk factors are investigated. In this paper a Bayesian proportional hazards model is used for modelling the time to first veterinary treatment of clinical mastitis, including both genetic and environmental covariates. Sire effects were modelled as shared random components, and veterinary district was included as an environmental effect with prior spatial smoothing. A non-informative smoothing prior was assumed for the baseline hazard, and Markov chain Monte Carlo methods (MCMC) were used for inference. We propose a new measure of quality for sires, in terms of their posterior probability of being among the, say 10% best sires. The probability is an easily interpretable measure that can be directly used to rank sires. Estimating these complex probabilities is straightforward in an MCMC setting. The results indicate considerable differences between sires with regards to their daughters disease resistance. A regional effect was also discovered with the lowest risk of disease in the south-eastern parts of Norway.
disease resistance; genetic effect; Markov chain Monte Carlo; spatial smoothing; survival analysis
The impact of ten diseases of dairy cattle on milk production, calving interval and culling were studied in a university operated dairy herd. Cows with clinical mastitis, ketosis or displaced abomasum had lowered milk production. Cows with metritis, retained placenta, cystic graafian follicles or ovarian hypofunction had longer calving intervals. Cows with clinical mastitis, metritis, pneumonia or retained placenta had increased risks of culling.
The relationship between disease and culling was based on the medical history of culled and nonculled cows using a case control approach. Therefore, it is likely that in many cases, the association between disease and culling is due to the impact of that disease on productivity.
The dry period is now recognised as a critical time for the control of clinical and sub-clinical mastitis in dairy cattle. Infections that occur, or that are not cured, during the dry period often result in clinical mastitis or raised somatic cell counts in early lactation. There is known to be large variability between herds in the patterns of dry period intramammary infections (IMI) and yet, until recently, there has been no information on farm determinants of the risk of IMI, other than in relation to dry cow treatments. In this paper we consider new research on cow characteristics, farm facilities and herd management strategies during the dry period in relation to clinical mastitis and raised somatic cell counts (SCC) in early lactation. We then describe, within a Bayesian framework, the concept of synthesising existing knowledge with new data to facilitate decision-making on dry cow management for individual farms.
Dry period; mastitis; somatic cell count; decision-making; Bayesian analysis; evidence synthesis
In the period 1990-2006, strong and almost equivalent increases in sales figures of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were observed in all Nordic countries. The sales figures of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) dropped in Norway and Sweden in the nineties. After 2000, sales figures of TCAs have been almost constant in all Nordic countries. The potentially toxic effect of TCAs in overdose was an important reason for replacing TCAs with SSRIs when treating depression. We studied whether the rapid increase in sales of SSRIs and the corresponding decline in TCAs in the period 1990-98 were associated with a decline in suicide rates.
Aggregated suicide rates for the period 1975-2006 in four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) were obtained from the national causes-of-death registries. The sales figures of antidepressants were provided from the wholesale registers in each of the Nordic countries. Data were analysed using Fisher's exact test and Pearson's correlation coefficient.
There was no statistical association (P = 1.0) between the increase of sales figures of SSRIs and the decline in suicide rates. There was no statistical association (P = 1.0) between the decrease in the sale figures of TCAs and change in suicide rates either.
We found no evidence for the rapid increase in use of SSRIs and the corresponding decline in sales of TCAs being associated with a decline in the suicide rates in the Nordic countries in the period 1990-98. We did not find any inverse relationship between the increase in sales of SSRIs and declining suicide rates in four Nordic countries.
Several management and environmental factors are known as contributory causes of clinical mastitis in dairy herd. The study objectives were to describe the structure of herd-specific mastitis management and environmental factors and to assess the relevance of these herd-specific indicators to mastitis incidence rate.
Disease reports from the Danish Cattle Data Base and a management questionnaire from 2,146 herds in three Danish regions were analyzed to identify and characterize risk factors of clinical mastitis. A total of 94 (18 continuous and 76 discrete) management and production variables were screened in separate bivariate regression models. Variables associated with mastitis incidence rate at a p-value < 0.10 were examined with a factor analysis to assess the construct of data. Separately, a multivariable regression model was used to estimate the association of management variables with herd mastitis rate.
Three latent factors (quality of labor, region of Denmark and claw trimming, and quality of outdoor holding area) were identified from 14 variables. Daily milk production per cow, claw disease, quality of labor and region of Denmark were found to be significantly associated with mastitis incidence rate. A common multiple regression analysis with backward and forward selection procedures indicated there were 9 herd-specific risk factors.
Though risk factors ascertained by farmer-completed surveys explained a small percentage of the among-herd variability in crude herd-specific mastitis rates, the study suggested that farmer attitudes toward mastitis and lameness treatment were important determinants for mastitis incidence rate. Our factor analysis identified one significant latent factor, which was related to labor quality on the farm.
The objective of the current research was to examine the association of
herd level disease incidence with the return over feed (ROF) (milk income
minus feed cost) herd profit index offered through Canwest Dairy
Herd Improvement. The lactational incidence risks (LIR) for displaced
abomasum, retained placenta, clinical mastitis, milk fever, clinical ketosis, and
lameness submitted by producers (n = 48) were similar to previous reports. However, there was no
negative association of clinical disease LIR’s with ROF. Subclinical
ketosis and subclinical mastitis cumulative incidence were determined
during the early postpartum period by using a cow-side test for
betahydroxybutyrate in milk and the California Mastitis Test, respectively. Subclinical
mastitis was not associated with ROF. However, a unit
increase in the cumulative incidence of subclinical ketosis was associated
with a decrease of $0.015/cow/day in the ROF. The results
highlight the economic significance that subclinical ketosis may have
in Ontario dairy herds.
Excess mortality from diseases and medical conditions (natural death) in persons with psychiatric disorders has been extensively reported. Even in the Nordic countries with well-developed welfare systems, register based studies find evidence of an excess mortality. In recent years, cardiac mortality and death by diseases of the circulatory system has seen a decline in all the Nordic countries, but a recent paper indicates that women and men in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, who had been hospitalised for a psychotic disorder, had a two to three-fold increased risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to compare the mortality by diseases of the circulatory system among patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia in the three Nordic countries Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Furthermore, the aim was to examine and compare life expectancy among these patients. Cause specific Standardized Mortality Rates (SMRs) were calculated for each specific subgroup of mortality. Life expectancy was calculated using Wiesler’s method.
The SMR for bipolar disorder for diseases of the circulatory system was approximately 2 in all countries and both sexes. SMR was slightly higher for people with schizophrenia for both genders and in all countries, except for men in Denmark. Overall life expectancy was much lower among persons with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, with life expectancy being from 11 to 20 years shorter.
Our data show that persons in the Nordic countries with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder have a substantially reduced life expectancy. An evaluation of the reasons for these increased mortality rates should be prioritized when planning healthcare in the coming years.