Effect of Bovine Tuberculosis on Selected Productivity Parameters and Trading in Dairy Cattle Kept Under Intensive Husbandry in Central Ethiopia.

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Tschopp, Rea 
Conlan, Andrew JK 
Gemechu, Gizachew 
Almaw, Gizat 
Hattendorf, Jan 

Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) has substantial impact on fertility, milk, and meat productivity in cattle. However, these assumptions are based on outdated data. Recent global studies on the impact of BTB on cattle productivity are scarce and show sometimes inconclusive and/or contradicting results. This pilot study is the first longitudinal study performed in urban upgraded dairy cattle in Ethiopia that are kept under intensive husbandry. We assessed whether BTB has an impact on various animal productivity parameters and animal movement. Animals (N = 890) included in the study were tested for BTB at least once using the comparative intradermal tuberculin test (CIDT). Fertility, mortality, and offtake were assessed in 21 dairy farms where herd follow-ups over 3 years were performed. In addition, an independent abattoir survey was conducted to assess carcass weight and visible TB-like lesions upon meat inspection. Animal movements (purchasing and offtakes) were documented for each farm. The impact of BTB status on the intervals been birth, service, and calving times and the intercalving intervals was analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards model. The hazard ratio associated with BTB-positive animals was smaller than 1 for all fertility parameters, suggesting that BTB status increases the time between events; however, the effect was small and only statistically significant (95% level) for the time between calving and service. Offtakes included a higher percentage of reactor animals (58%) as compared with non-reactor animals (42%) (p = 0.0001). Overall, reactors were eliminated from the farms within 238.6 days after receiving test results, which was 54.9 days faster than for negative animals. The majority of owners purchased animals within their town or its surrounding. Nearly a quarter of reactors were sold directly to other farms. Animals were also sold further away, including other regions, raising the question of disease spread and the need for an animal tracing mechanism. In the abattoir survey, a total of 349 carcasses were weighed, of which 8% showed visible TB-like lesions and 53.6% had fasciolosis. Negative adult bull carcasses were 7.5 kg heavier than reactor bulls.

Ethiopia, bovine tuberculosis, dairy cattle, disease impact, productivity
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Front Vet Sci
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Frontiers Media SA
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/L018977/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/S013806/1)
This work was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Department for International Development, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, under the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS) programme, ref. BB/L018977/1. The funders were not involved in the design of the study; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; and in writing the manuscript.