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Impact of Housing System on Health and Rearing of Calves Based on Examination of Nasal Cavity Swabs.

Byline: Ewa Czerniawska-Piatkowska, Magdalena Skibicka, Barbara Cioch-Szklarz, Jolanta Karakulska, Karol Fijalkowski and Sonia Hiller

ABSTRACT

The aim of the study was to analyze calves rearing on the basis of selected parameters of growth in different housing systems with regard to the assessment of microbial flora taken from the nasal cavity of animals. The study was performed on 28 calves of Polish Holstein-Friesian Black-and-White variety (PHF HO). The average weight of calves at the age of three months differed depending on the housing system. Individuals in igloo type booths were heavier as compared to the traditionally reared calves. The differences regarding the final weight of heifer calves were statistically significant (P a$? 0.05). In the cold and traditional rearing bulls had a larger mass than heifer calves. In traditional rearing, results of analysis of the swabs from the nasal cavities revealed the presence of pathogenic or opportunistic bacteria at the level of the average number of micro-organisms (11-50 CFU) or high (> 50 CFU), which negatively affected the health of the calves.

However, in cold rearing there was recorded absence or presence of microorganisms in the nasal cavity in a small amount ( 50 CFU) in three individuals. In the case of six calves the presence of moderate (11-50 CFU) number of coagulase-negative staphylococci was demonstrated, whereas in five cases a large number (> 50 CFU) of these bacteria was shown. In five calves the presence of Enterococcus spp. was at moderate level (11-50 CFU) and in six calves at high level (> 50 CFU). In samples collected from animals kept outside the booth, there were no or very low level of Enterobacteriaceae Enterococcus spp. and Staphylococcus spp. (<10 CFU). There was no occurrence of mold and yeast.

Absence of microorganisms in the nasal cavity may indicate too intensive disinfection, but their excess poses a greater threat of the occurrence of diseases.

Cultures of microorganisms were compared with the occurrence of symptoms of disease. Among 85.7% of the calves kept in the building 43% showed gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea), 21% diseases of respiratory system (coughs, outflow from the nasal cavity) and 14% had skin lesions classified as "other". In animals in the booths only 29% showed disturbing symptoms.

Table II.- Microorganisms isolated from nasal cavity of calves.

Group###Enterobacteriaceae###Staphylococcus sp.###Enterococcus sp.###Yeast

###Lactose (+)###Lactose (-)###Coagulase (+)###Coagulase (-)

Traditional rearing in a room

1.###-###++###-###++###+###-

2.###++###++###-###++###+++###-

3.###-###+++###-###+++###+++###-

4.###-###+++###-###+++###++###+

5.###-###+++###++###+###++###+

6.###+###++###++###+###++###+

7.###+###++###-###+++###+###-

8.###-###+###-###++###+++###-

9.###+###++###-###+++###+++###+

10.###+###++###-###+++###++###-

11.###++###++###-###++###+++###+

12.###-###+###-###++###++###-

13.###+###++###-###++###+++###+

14.###-###+###-###+###++###+

Cold rearing

15.###+###+###+###+###-###-

16.###+###-###+###-###+###-

17.###-###-###+###+###+###-

18.###+###+###-###-###-###-

19.###+###-###-###-###-###-

20.###-###+###-###-###+###-

21.###+###-###-###-###-###-

22.###-###-###-###-###-###-

23.###-###-###-###-###-###-

24.###-###-###-###-###-###-

25.###-###+###-###+###-###-

26.###-###-###-###-###-###-

27.###-###-###-###-###-###-

28.###-###-###-###-###-###-

Study on the final body weight of calves in the context of the housing system is a disputable issue in the scientific world. Calves in the observed farm had a larger final body mass in cold rearing than in conventional rearing. In the experiment by Adamski et al. (2004) calves of the booth are also characterized by intensive growth and development, gained more weight and had a larger chest circumference in comparison to individuals held in the traditional system. This advantage could be caused by higher feed intake of individuals located outside due to higher energy demand associated with the living conditions. Wojcik et al. (2012) demonstrated that cold rearing of calves lead to greater health status, as well as greater demand for feed, which resulted in increases in weight of the animals during the period when milk replacer was no longer used. Another study by Wojcik et al. (2013) is in favor of the traditional rearing.

The older calves kept in calf stables exhibit greater demand for food and, consequently, had the higher body weights. Szewczuk et al. (2011) showed that animals in both systems reached similar results with respect to weight gain and growth. It was predicted that the difference may be perceptible at a later age.

Table III.- Percentage distribution of disease symptoms and morbidity in calves, depending on the method of rearing.

Specification###Cold rearing###Traditional rearing in

###(%)###a room (%)

RSD###7###21

ASD###14###43

Others###7###14

Summary###29###85.7

Table III shows that for calves kept "outside" had significantly less cases of gastrointestinal diseases (14%) and respiratory diseases (7%) compared to calf stables (43% and 21%). The results were confirmed in the study by Razzaque et al. (2009), who also showed that the disease is less frequent when using the cold rearing of calves, especially in relation to diseases of the respiratory tract. Kaczor and Mandecki (2013) and Adamski (2012) have shown that it is desirable to keep the animals out of the barn, e.g. in open type rooms, such as individual or group igloo type booths. Limited contact with older cattle makes a calf less vulnerable to infections arising in contact with the immunized adult cattle. Booths are conducive to improving health and strengthening the calf by natural exchange of fresh air and "sunbathing". Lorenz et al. (2011) recommend to produce them of fiberglass and to keep calves individually.

Hill et al. (2011) conducted an experiment using modernized calf stables and igloo type booths and proved that the conditions in polyethylene booths were less favorable than in the modernized, well-ventilated calf stables with individual pens and deep litter. The booths had elevated temperature and humidity in comparison to modernized calf stable. Results of Nordlund (2008) and Wojcik et al. (2013) indicate that the risk of disease occurs in inappropriate microclimate conditions-improper ventilation and humidity, which increases microbial contamination.

Our study shows that the spread of microorganisms is facilitated by environment created in calf stables located near the barn with adult individuals. Jones and Heinrichs (2013) and Maunsell (2015) argue that the presence of large quantities of bacteria is due to inadequate air flow, which may lead to respiratory diseases. Nordlund (2008) examining the content of microorganisms in the air said that in inadequately ventilated barns there may occur 5 times more bacteria that threaten the health. Among them were Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Bacillus spp. and E. coli. They contribute to respiratory diseases, although they are not specific to this disease. In another experiment Hill et al. (2011) confirmed that the concentration of microorganisms in the booths was more favorable.

Our own experience showed that the calves maintained in conventional calf stable with collective pens have a greater tendency to suffer from diarrhea and respiratory symptoms. As it is evident from the analysis, the incidence of disease was significantly lesser with cold rearing, which also took place in the study of Nielsen (2002). This is confirmed by the experiences of Szewczuk and Kamieniecki (2003). Razzaque et al. (2010) showed that diarrhea was the most frequent disease, representing 90.6% of calves suffering from diseases. Pathogens included E. coli, Salmonella spp., Klebsiella spp., Pasturella spp. and rotaviruses.

In calves with the visible signs of respiratory diseases, on the mucous membranes there were bacteria of the Enterobacteriaceae family and Enterococcus spp. This indicates that the concentration of microorganisms caused by inadequate zoohygienic conditions can lead to, or predispose for this type of diseases.

Conclusion

Based on the research it can be stated that the cold rearing is a suitable housing system for the improvement of health in climate occurring in Poland. Achieved higher body weight favors increasing of resistance in the period of calf's transition to a constant feed and can have a positive impact on their future productivity. In calves rearing, the basis should be an appropriate nutrition and proper treatments in the first days of life. When choosing a system of housing in the farm, one needs to pay attention to the material from which the booths and equipment are made, and adapted them to the conditions in the area of the farm. It should also be remembered that the determinant of all the action should be the welfare of animal life.

Statement of conflict of interest

Authors have declared no conflict of interest.

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Author:Czerniawska-Piatkowska, Ewa; Skibicka, Magdalena; Cioch-Szklarz, Barbara; Karakulska, Jolanta; Fijal
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 30, 2018
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