Parturition is a natural process that gradually progresses from one stage to the next. However, around 5% of dairy cows will experience dystocia, which is considered to be a painful and stressful event. Studies have reported positive effects on cow performance and welfare after treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the first postpartum days. The objectives were to assess the effects of acetylsalicylic acid administration after calving on (1) milk yield and components, (2) daily activity patterns, (3) reproductive performance, and (4) health in lactating dairy cows under certified organic management. Cows from 3 organic herds were enrolled. Within 12 h after parturition, cows were blocked by parity and calving ease and randomly assigned to 2 treatments: (1) aspirin (ASP; n = 278), in which cows received 4 consecutive treatments every 12 h with acetylsalicylic acid (100 mg/kg; 2 boluses) or (2) placebo (PLC, n = 285), in which cows received 4 treatments every 12 h with gelatin capsules (2 capsules) filled with water. Daily milk yield for the first 30 d in milk (DIM) and monthly milk yield, fat, protein, and somatic cell count (SCC) data from the first 5 Dairy Herd Improvement Association tests were collected. Activity patterns were measured using activity data loggers in the first 7 DIM. Clinical disease events (60 DIM) and fertility data were collected from on-farm computer records. Statistical analysis was performed using the MIXED (milk yield, components, and activity), LIFETEST (fertility), and GLIMMIX (health) procedures of SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Overall, ASP cows produced 1.82 kg/d more milk than PLC cows during the first 30 DIM. Interestingly, cows that experienced dystocia and received ASP produced 4.48 kg/d more milk compared with cows in the PLC group that experienced dystocia. Cows treated with ASP had lower somatic cell count during the first 5 Dairy Herd Improvement Association tests. There were no differences in daily lying time, lying bouts, and lying bout duration between the ASP and PLC groups. However, cows in the ASP group had 587,64 steps/d more compared with PLC cows. In addition, ASP cows tended to require fewer days (ASP = 113.76 ± 4.99 d; PLC = 125.36 ± 4.74 d) and needed fewer services (ASP = 1.86 ± 0.21 services; PLC = 2.19 ± 0.24 services) to become pregnant compared with PLC cows. There were no differences in clinical disease events between treatments. Results from this study suggest that treating cows with ASP after calving may help improve milk yields and udder health, increase activity, and enhance fertility in dairy cattle under certified organic management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology