Article Text

Energy metabolites in pre- and postpartum dairy cattle as predictors of reproductive disorders
  1. R. A. Jackson, BVSc, DBR, MRCVS1,
  2. J. R. Wills, BSc2,
  3. N. R. Kendall, BSc, PhD2,
  4. M. J. Green, BVSc, MRCVS, DCHP, PhD, DipECBHM2,
  5. R. D. Murray, BVM&S, DVM&S, DBR, MRCVS, DipECAR, DipECBHM, FHEA3 and
  6. H. Dobson, BSc, PhD, DSc, HonAssocRCVS3
  1. Scarsdale Veterinary Hospital, Markeaton Lane, Derby DE22 4NH
  2. School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5RD
  3. School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston, Wirral, CH64 7TE
  1. E-mail for correspondence roseastartejackson{at}

This study aimed to determine values for selected energy metabolites (non-esterified fatty acid [NEFA], β-hydroxybutyrate [BHB], urea or urea:BHB ratio), together with a body condition score, associated with an increased risk of cows developing a reproductive disorder and to investigate temporal relationships between predictors and reproductive outcome. A cohort of 98 cows on one farm was monitored weekly from four weeks before to 10 weeks after calving; 89 cows provided sufficient data to calculate commencement of luteal activity (C-LA). Cows with high NEFA × urea (Nu; product of NEFA and urea) values one and three weeks after calving were twice as likely to develop cystic ovarian disease (risk ratio 2). Cows that developed endometritis had high NEFA values one (P=0.02) or four weeks (P=0.04) before calving, or low urea:BHB ratios two weeks before calving, at calving or three weeks after calving (P=0.024, P=0.031 and P=0.001, respectively). Cows that had delayed C-LA had high NEFA values one week after calving (P=0.05) or low urea:BHB ratios three or four weeks after calving (P=0.004 and P=0.003, respectively).

Statistics from


  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.