Dairy FAQs

1Artificial Insemination in Cattle and Buffaloes
Q.1 : What is the importance of Artificial Insemination (AI)?
A : AI is a technique in which semen is collected from the superior bulls and introduced into female reproductive tract at proper time with the help of instruments. The major advantage of AI over natural mating is that it permits the dairy farmer to use top proven sires for genetic improvement of his herd and control of venereal (reproductive) diseases. AI is also of tremendous value in making optimal use of different sires and enables dairy farmer to breed individual cows to selected sires according to their breeding goal.
Q.2 : What should be the weight and age of cows and buffalo heifers at the time of AI?
A : The weight and age of cow heifer should be 275-300 Kg and 15-18 months and that of buffalo heifers should be 300-325 Kg and 26-30 months at the time of first AI.
Q.3 : How the animals can be detected in heat?
A : The animals should be watched carefully for heat symptoms for half an hour at least in the morning (5-7 AM) and evening (between 8-10 PM). The common heat symptoms in dairy animals are mounting behavior, mucus discharge from genitalia, restlessness, swelling of vulva, loss of appetite, bellowing, frequent urination and fall in milk yield.
Q.4 : How the quality of semen can be assured?
A : For best results get your animals inseminated at the department's AI centre which has properly stored semen straws, thawing equipment and restraint crates; in case you need a home visit ensure that the semen is carried is small LN2 cryocans to your residence and thawed properly in water bath before insemination is performed.
Q.5 : What is the ideal time of AI?
A : As a thumb rule, animals coming in heat in the morning should be inseminated the same evening and those coming in heat in the evening should be inseminated on the next morning.
Q.6 : What is the ideal time for animal to get pregnant after calving?
A : Following parturition the cow or buffalo should conceive between 80-100 days to maintain the calving interval of nearly one year.
Q.7 : What is the ideal time for pregnancy diagnosis after insemination?
A : The inseminated cow or buffalo not showing heat symptoms should be examined for pregnancy diagnosis two months after the AI.
2Breeding Issues
Q.1 : Why a cow/buffalo fails to get pregnant after repeated services/inseminations?
A : This could be due to: Uterine infections Hormonal aberrations Nutritional deficiencies Wrong time of AI and use of poor quality semen.
Q.2 : Why some cows show heat symptom for 5-6 days?
A : This could be due to hormonal imbalance leading to delayed ovulation or formation of follicular cyst on the ovary. To diagnose the condition, the animal needs to be examined by veterinarian for status of genital organs particularly ovaries. Ultrasonography of ovaries and hormonal analysis of blood is also carried to diagnosis the condition and to decide line of treatment.
Q.3 : Why a cow/buffalo is not cured for dirty discharge even after intrauterine medications?
A : The cervico-vaginal mucus discharge of that animal should be tested for microbial isolation and drug sensitivity test. Depending upon the report, the treatment should be done.
Q.4 : What is the relation of post service bleeding & conception?
A : This type of bleeding is normal physiological in some of crossbred cows and is known as metestral bleeding. There is no relationship between metestral bleeding and conception failure. Rather this is a positive sign indicating that the animal has ovulated. The animal needs to be examined thoroughly to find the exact cause of conception failure.
Q.5 : What are the causes of abortions in cattle & buffalo?
A : Abortion can occur in dairy animals due to following causes: Deficiency of progesterone in early gestation. Bacterial, viral and protozoan infections e.g. Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Vibriosis, IBR– IPV, Trichomoniasis. Feeding of toxic plants and fungus infested feed. High fever. Injury to the abdomen. Misuse of drugs/hormones.
Q.6 : What is anestrus?
A : It is the inability of the animal to show signs of heat due to inactive ovaries. It can be of different types like true anestrus, seasonal anestrus, postpartum anestrus and silent heat.
Q.7 : What are the main causes of anestrus?
A : The different causes of anestrus are poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, infectious diseases, anatomical defects, lactation, suckling and poor management.
Q.8 : Why do some animals fail to come into heat for long period after parturition?
A : This problem is more common in high yielding animals because a lot of energy is required for the parturition process as well as production after delivery. So animal looses weight. Therefore, good management through proper nutrition is required to meet the energy status of the animal and restore the reproductive performance of high yielding dairy animals.
Q.9 : Should hormonal therapy be used for onset of estrus?
A : Hormones are effective only if the nutrition is balanced. Therefore, farmers are advised to check the nutrition of their animals regularly, before giving any other treatment. The hormonal treatment should always be administered in consultation with veterinary doctor.
Q.10 : Most buffalo heifers do not come in estrus at less than 3 years of age?
A : Generally such animals have a poor body weight. Normal body weight should be around 275-300 kg in case of buffalo heifers for onset of estrus. Therefore, feed good balanced diet as well as go for deworming of animals in order to have early onset of estrus.
3Mastitis in Dairy Animals
Q.1 : What is mastitis?
A : Mastitis is inflammation of udder/ mammary gland characterized by change in milk.
Q.2 : What should I do after onset of Mastitis?
A : If it is possible, milk sample for culture sensitivity test (CST) (to know the sensitive antibiotics) should be submitted before starting treatment. Broad spectrum antibiotic and supportive treatment with consultation of veterinarian should be given to the animal. If antibiotics are already being given to the animal, the milk sample should be submitted 4 days after end of therapy.
Q.3 : How should I take the milk sample for testing to the laboratory?
A : You should collect the milk sample in sterilized test tubes or in sterilized vials. The test tube should be labeled appropriately. At least 5 ml of milk sample should be submitted to the laboratory as early as possible. If delay is expected, samples should be kept in ice-container. Udder should be cleaned and soaked with neat piece of cloth. Teat orifice should aseptically be cleaned. Before taking sample in test tube, first few strippings (1-2 strippings) should be discarded.
Q.4 : What should I do to avoid infection during dry period?
A : As there is no specific dry cow therapy available in India, one should take care of the managemental aspects. If prevalence of infection in the herd is high, all the animals at drying- off should be injected with Intra-mammary infusions.
Q.5 : What should I do to avoid recurrence of mastitis?
A : Individual animal should be treated and her udder immunity enhanced by using mineral mixture of standard quality, cleaning of udder before milking, milking of infected teat at the end and teat dipping after milking. Milk samples should be tested regularly after 15 days using SLS paddle test. The positive animal’s milk samples should be tested for CST in the laboratory. Treatment of sub-clinical case is more desirable.
Q.6 : Why does the swelling of udder occur just after calving while there was no sign during late pregnancy?
A : There are chances of sub-clinical mastitis at drying-off and during dry period. This infection gets flared-up after parturition due to certain stress factors.
Q.7 : What is the treatment of udder/teat fibrosis?
A : Udder/ teat fibrosis occurs as a result of chronic infection. Treatment of udder and teat fibrosis in that particular lactation can result into resolution to some extent, but chances of recovery may be expected in the next lactation when new lacteal tissue formation will ensue.
Q.8 : There is problem of warts over the teat of animals. How to treat it?
A : Please, Consult nearest available qualified veterinarian for treatment.
Q.9 : I have a buffalo which has developed sores at the base of teat since one month. Milk yield is normal. Advise me appropriate treatment.
A : This problem is usually chronic running for many months. The best treatment for this is to apply antiseptic solutions like Betadine/Povidone Iodine regularly. If no recovery occurs apply a powder mixed in equal parts containing boric acid, kaolin and zinc oxide once daily. The healing in such cases is slow and takes 3-4 weeks. Do not use antibiotics, which will increases the cost of treatment only.
Q.10 : What are the mastitis control measures?
A : The important features of a successful mastitis control programme are: Regular testing of animals for subclinical mastitis Adopt hygiene measures Post-milking teat dipping be adopted Follow Dry cow therapy Increase udder resistance to mastitis
Q.11 : What is Post-milking teat dipping?
A : The teats of all the lactating cows and dry cows (during first 10-14 days of dry period) are dipped regularly after every milking in a germicidal solution. The recommended teat dips are Iodine (0.5%) solution 6 parts + Glycerine 1 part Chlorhexidine (0.5%) solution 1 Litre + Glycerine 60 ml The iodine teat dip is the best as it treats various types of teat lesions and injuries also.
4Combating Mineral Deficiencies
Q.1 : What is Hematuria?.
A : It is the presence of blood in urine and can be due to many reasons like phosphorus deficiency, protozoal infection, etc.
Q.2 : What is leucoderma ?
A : Leucoderma refers to loss in sking pigmentation, it is associated with copper deficiency.
Q.3 : What are the clinical signs of copper deficiency?
A : The clinical signs are as follows: Unthriftiness Change in hair colour or leucoderma Anaemia Chronic diarrhoea Chronic lameness Neonatal ataxia
Q.4 : How we can diagnose and treat copper deficiency?
A : We can diagnose the copper deficiency by low serum and hepatic copper concentration and response to treatment. Copper deficiency can be treated by oral administration of copper sulphate or inj. copper glycnate. Consult any nearest available veterinarian for this purpose.
Q.5 : My cow calved last night and is now unable to get up.
A : Many times high yielding cows suffer from milk fever after parturition which is due to calcium deficiency. Following calcium treatment, there is quick recovery. Please remember calcium replacement therapy is a very critical process and should be conducted by a qualified veterinarian only.