Sixty Holstein cows were paired by parity and sire, and one of each pair was allocated at random to treatment or control; 17 cows were injected with 7.5 mg/100 kg dexamethasone trioxa undecanoate 14 days before the predicted date of calving, 13 cows received the same dose five days before term and 30 cows were left untreated. The treatment significantly advanced parturition and 29 of the 30 induced cows calved within 72 hours of the injection. Induction at day 14 before term was safe for calf and dam, the calves were 3.2 kg lighter than control calves and there was a high incidence of retained placenta. Treatment for this condition resulted in increased veterinary costs of 14.50 pounds per cow exclusive of dexamethasone treatment. Treatment at this stage was also associated with low pregnancy rates in the next breeding season. Calves born after induction at five days before term were not significantly lighter than calves from control cows, the problem of retained placenta was less marked and there were no subsequent effects on fertility. There were no significant effects of induction on milk yield or milk quality up to 200 days of lactation.
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