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Associations of production characteristics with the on-farm presence of Fasciola hepatica in dairy cows vary across production levels and indicate differences between breeds


Oehm, Andreas W; Zablotski, Yury; Hoedemaker, Martina; Campe, Amely; Strube, Christina; Jordan, Daniela; Springer, Andrea; Klawitter, Markus; Knubben-Schweizer, Gabriela (2023). Associations of production characteristics with the on-farm presence of Fasciola hepatica in dairy cows vary across production levels and indicate differences between breeds. PLoS ONE, 18(11):e0294601.

Abstract

Fasciola hepatica is one of the economically most important endoparasites in cattle production. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the relevance of production level on the associations of on-farm presence of F. hepatica with farm-level milk yield, milk fat, and milk protein in Holstein cows, a specialised dairy breed, and in Simmental cows, a dual purpose breed. Furthermore, we investigated whether differential associations were present depending on breed. Data from 560 dairy farms across Germany housing 93,672 cows were analysed. The presence of F. hepatica antibodies was determined via ELISA on bulk tank milk samples. Quantile regression was applied to model the median difference in milk yield, milk fat, and milk protein depending on the interaction of breed and fluke occurrence. Whereas a reduction in milk yield (-1,206 kg, p < 0.001), milk fat (-22.9 kg, p = 0.001), and milk protein (-41.6 kg, p <0.001) was evident on F. hepatica positive German Holstein farms, only milk fat (-33.8 kg, p = 0.01) and milk protein (-22.6 kg, p = 0.03) were affected on F. hepatica positive German Simmental farms. Subsequently, production traits were modelled within each of the two breeds for low, medium, and high producing farms in the presence of F. hepatica antibodies and of confounders. On Holstein farms, the presence of F. hepatica seropositivity was associated with lower production, while on German Simmental farms such an association was less evident. This work demonstrates that production level is relevant when assessing the associations between the exposure to F. hepatica with production characteristics. Moreover, both models indicate a breed dependence. This could point towards a differential F. hepatica resilience of specialised dairy breeds in comparison with dual purpose breeds.

Abstract

Fasciola hepatica is one of the economically most important endoparasites in cattle production. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the relevance of production level on the associations of on-farm presence of F. hepatica with farm-level milk yield, milk fat, and milk protein in Holstein cows, a specialised dairy breed, and in Simmental cows, a dual purpose breed. Furthermore, we investigated whether differential associations were present depending on breed. Data from 560 dairy farms across Germany housing 93,672 cows were analysed. The presence of F. hepatica antibodies was determined via ELISA on bulk tank milk samples. Quantile regression was applied to model the median difference in milk yield, milk fat, and milk protein depending on the interaction of breed and fluke occurrence. Whereas a reduction in milk yield (-1,206 kg, p < 0.001), milk fat (-22.9 kg, p = 0.001), and milk protein (-41.6 kg, p <0.001) was evident on F. hepatica positive German Holstein farms, only milk fat (-33.8 kg, p = 0.01) and milk protein (-22.6 kg, p = 0.03) were affected on F. hepatica positive German Simmental farms. Subsequently, production traits were modelled within each of the two breeds for low, medium, and high producing farms in the presence of F. hepatica antibodies and of confounders. On Holstein farms, the presence of F. hepatica seropositivity was associated with lower production, while on German Simmental farms such an association was less evident. This work demonstrates that production level is relevant when assessing the associations between the exposure to F. hepatica with production characteristics. Moreover, both models indicate a breed dependence. This could point towards a differential F. hepatica resilience of specialised dairy breeds in comparison with dual purpose breeds.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technology
570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:17 November 2023
Deposited On:17 Feb 2024 16:56
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 03:31
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0294601
PubMed ID:37976265
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)