Response of Dairy Cows to High Doses of a Sustained-Release Bovine Somatotropin Administered During Two Lactations. 2. Health and Reproduction

W. J. Cole, P. J. Eppard, B. G. Boysen, K. S. Madsen, R. H. Sorbet, M. A. Miller, R. L. Hintz, T. C. White, W. E. Ribelin, B. G. Hammond, R. J. Collier, G. M. Lanza

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Eighty-two lactating Holstein cows in their first, second, or third lactation received either one, three, or five concurrent i.m. injections of a unit dose (.6 g) of zinc methionyl bST (sometribove) or five doses of the vehicle. Injections were given at 14-d intervals from 60 ± 3 d postpartum until the end of lactation or necropsy. Thirty-eight animals were continued on treatment for a 2nd yr Sometribove did not affect the incidence of ketosis, milk fever, tetany, or pneumonia. Digestive disorders, primarily cows going off feed, were increased by bST during yr 1 only. The incidence of lameness was increased by bST in some time frames because of an increase in the 3.0-g bST group. Lameness was not associated with treatment-specific histopathologic changes or with abnormalities in cartilage or bone. Reproductive health generally was unaffected by treatment, but delayed conception and increased incidence of abortion were noted, Incidence of cystic ovaries was unaffected by bST. Pregnancy rates were decreased during the 100-d breeding interval of yr 1 but not during the 215-d interval of yr 2. The incidence of clinical mastitis was increased by bST, primarily at the 3.0-g dose. During the 2-yr study, 0, 3, 3, and 2 cows died or became moribund on 0, .6, 1.8, and 3.0 g of bST, respectively. Health issues identified for further evaluation included lameness and clinical mastitis for the 3.0-g group and early removal from the herd and decreased reproductive performance for all bST groups. Bovine somatotropin caused no treatment-specific toxic effects in dairy cows even at 3.0 g every 14 d.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992


  • EB
  • P
  • energy balance
  • hCG
  • health
  • human chorionic gonadotropin
  • progesterone
  • reproduction
  • somatotropin


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