Swiss Bovine Health Service

Lindau, Switzerland

Swiss Bovine Health Service

Lindau, Switzerland
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Bahler C.,University of Bern | Steiner A.,University of Bern | Luginbuhl A.,Practicing Veterinarians at Dudingen | Ewy A.,Practicing Veterinarians at Dudingen | And 4 more authors.
Research in Veterinary Science | Year: 2012

Calf losses (CL, mortality and unwanted early slaughter) in veal production are of great economic importance and an indicator of welfare. The objective of the present study was to evaluate CL and the causes of death on farms with a specific animal welfare standard (SAW) which exceeds the Swiss statutory regulations. Risk factors for CL were identified based on information about management, housing, feeding, and medication. In total, 74 production cohorts (2783 calves) of 15 farms were investigated. CL was 3.6%, the main causes of death were digestive disorders (52%), followed by respiratory diseases (28%). Factors significantly associated with an increased risk for CL were a higher number of individual daily doses of antibiotics (DDA), insufficient wind deflection in winter, and male gender. For administration of antibiotics to all calves of the cohort, a DDA of 14-21 was associated with a decreased risk for CL compared to a DDA of 7-13. days. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Raber R.,University of Bern | Kaufmann T.,Swiss Bovine Health Service | Regula G.,University of Bern | von Rotz A.,University of Bern | And 7 more authors.
Schweizer Archiv fur Tierheilkunde | Year: 2013

The objective of this study was to identify a suitable alternative to the current practice of complementing the feeding of whole milk with straw. The influence of 3 different solid supplements on the health and performance of Swiss veal calves was investigated during 3 production cycles of 90 veal calves each with a mean initial age of 42 days and a mean initial weight of 68.7 kg. The calves were housed in groups of 30 in stalls strewn with wheat straw without outside pen. Liquid feeding consisted of whole milk combined with an additional skim milk powder ad libitum. Groups were assigned to one of the three following experimental solid feeds provided ad libitum: Pellet mix (composition: oat hulls, corn [whole plant], barley, sunflower seeds, squeezed grains of corn, molasses and a pellet binder), whole plant corn pellets, and wheat straw as control. Calves of the straw group showed significantly more abomasal lesions in the fundic part as compared to the pellet mix and corn pellets groups (P < 0.001), the prevalence of insufficient papillae was highest (P < 0.05), and ruminating behavior was unsatisfactory. In contrast to the pellet mix and straw groups, performance of calves in the corn pellets group was good. Additionally, prevalence of abomasal fundic lesions was lowest (P < 0.001), and rumen development was best in calves of the corn pellets group (P < 0.01). As in part I, the results reveal that whole-plant corn pellets are most consistent with an optimal result combining the calves' health and fattening performance. Therefore, it can be recommended as a solid supplement for veal calves basically fed whole milk under Swiss conditions. © 2013 Verlag Hans Huber, Hogrefe AG, Bern.

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