|Publisher||American Dairy Science Association|
Incidences of ketosis, metritis, mastitis, and retained placenta were studied in Israeli Holstein cows calving between 2008 and 2017. These diseases were selected based on their economic impact. Ketosis, metritis, and retained placenta were scored dichotomously. Mastitis was scored as absent, a single occurrence during the lactation, or more than 1 occurrence. Ketosis and metritis were recorded during the first 21 d after calving, retained placenta during the first 5 d after calving, and mastitis up to 305 d in milk. The effects of herd-year-season, calving age, month of calving, gestation length, and occurrence of dystocia were included in the first-parity analysis models. All effects were significant for metritis and retained placenta. For ketosis, all effects were significant, except for gestation length. For mastitis, only the effects of herd-year-season and calving age were significant. Variance components were computed by the multitrait animal model. The 4 diseases were analyzed jointly based on first-parity records, and each disease was analyzed separately for parities 1 to 3 with the different parities considered separate traits. The 4 disease traits in first parity were also analyzed jointly with the 6 major traits included in the Israeli breeding index: milk, fat, and protein production; somatic cell score; female fertility; and longevity. Heritability was highest for metritis and lowest for mastitis, but all heritabilities were <0.07, similar to previous studies. For all 4 diseases, genetic correlations among the first 3 parities were >0.65, and all residual correlations were <0.07. Selection of herd-years assumed to have more accurate recording of mastitis did not result in higher heritability estimates. Genetic correlations between the disease traits and milk, fat, and protein production were economically unfavorable, while correlations between the disease traits and somatic cell score, female fertility, and longevity were economically favorable. Expected genetic changes in the disease traits after 10 yr of selection with the current Israeli breeding index were all <1%, except for ketosis, which was predicted to increase by 1.5%. Inclusion of these traits in a proposed index with the disease traits constituting 7% of the index would result in only marginal improvements for the disease traits and adversely affect genetic gain for fat and protein production. Thus, inclusion of these traits in the breeding index cannot be justified economically.
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