Body Condition Score

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Introduction

Body condition was first described my Murray in 1919, it was described as the ratio of fat to non-fatty matters within the body of a living animal.
Body condition scoring is an important management tool within the dairy industry, due to having cows which are too thin and cows which are too fat can lead to many problems and it will contribute to a loss of production. Both cows which are too thin and fat will have a reduced milk yield and poor fertility. The body condition score of a cow can also often be linked to health and welfare issues (Gearheart, 1990)

Body Condition Score Scales
Lowman (1976) first adapted a 5 point scale body condition score scale (1-5) for beef cattle cow, from a previous condition score for ewes, the
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Because the method is seen to be subjective the results can often come down to the person carrying out the condition scoring own opinion, due to this there have been many studies done to look at how different observers will score cows and if their results are consistent. Ferguson et al (2006) looked at consistency in scores for 57 cows, using 4 observers, they found that in 90% of cases the observers agreed on the condition score of the cow, or they deviated the condition score by only 0.25. Other studies have also shown that highly trained observers agreed on the condition of a cow 83% of the time, however untrained observers were less likely to agree on the scores with only 30% (Kristensen et al …show more content…
Mastitis is an infection within the udder of a cow, usually caused by bacteria Mastitis with in the UK (Kossaibati & Esselemont) suggested that in the UK there are around 40 cases per 100 cows of clinical mastitis year each,

There are only a small number of previous studies which have looked at the effect of mastitis on the body condition score of a cow, with most of these drawing a conclusions that there is not a relationship between mastitis and the body condition score of a cow. (Berry Et Al, 2006)
Parity
Parity relates to the number of offspring the cow has had.
Parity also is seen to have many relationships between cows and their health, it is suggested that parity has an effect on the fertility, with older cows being less fertile and therefore having lower pregnancy rates (Balendran, 2008). It is also believed that there is a relationship between the parity of a cow and her condition score. There have been studies conducted to see if this is the cases and there actually is a relationship between them, Coffey Et Al (2001) suggested that there is a difference in condition scores between cows in First parity cows and older ones, they found that the first parity cows had a higher condition score than the older parity cows. Other studies have suggested that the older cow with higher parity will also suffer from a higher amounts of body condition score loss than younger cows (Waltner

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