Combinations of non-invasive indicators to detect dairy cows submitted to high-starch-diet challenge

Erminio Trevisi, C. Villot, C. Martin, J. Bodin, D. Durand, B. Graulet, A. Ferlay, M. M. Mialon, M. Silberberg

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


High-starch diets (HSDs) fed to high-producing ruminants are often responsible for rumen dysfunction and could impair animal health and production. Feeding HSDs are often characterized by transient rumen pH depression, accurate monitoring of which requires costly or invasive methods. Numerous clinical signs can be followed to monitor such diet changes but no specific indicator is able to make a statement at animal level on-farm. The aim of this pilot study was to assess a combination of non-invasive indicators in dairy cows able to monitor a HSD in experimental conditions. A longitudinal study was conducted in 11 primiparous dairy cows fed with two different diets during three successive periods: A 4-week control period (P1) with a low-starch diet (LSD; 13% starch), a 4-week period with an HSD (P2, 35% starch) and a 3-week recovery period (P3) again with the LSD. Animal behaviour was monitored throughout the experiment, and faeces, urine, saliva, milk and blood were sampled simultaneously in each animal at least once a week for analysis. A total of 136 variables were screened by successive statistical approaches including: Partial least squares-discriminant analysis, multivariate analysis and mixed-effect models. Finally, 16 indicators were selected as the most representative of a HSD challenge. A generalized linear mixed model analysis was applied to highlight parsimonious combinations of indicators able to identify animals under our experimental conditions. Eighteen models were established and the combination of milk urea nitrogen, blood bicarbonate and feed intake was the best to detect the different periods of the challenge with both 100% of specificity and sensitivity. Other indicators such as the number of drinking acts, fat:protein ratio in milk, urine, and faecal pH, were the most frequently used in the proposed models. Finally, the established models highlight the necessity for animals to have more than 1 week of recovery diet to return to their initial control state after a HSD challenge. This pilot study demonstrates the interest of using combinations of non-invasive indicators to monitor feed changes from a LSD to a HSD to dairy cows in order to improve prevention of rumen dysfunction on-farm. However, the adjustment and robustness of the proposed combinations of indicators need to be challenged using a greater number of animals as well as different acidogenic conditions before being applied on-farm.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)388-398
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • dairy cattle
  • multi-parametric analysis
  • proof of concept
  • proxies
  • starch-rich ration


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