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Genetic evaluation of claw health traits accounting for potential preselection of cows to be trimmed

Abstract : Claw lesions are one of the most important health issues in dairy cattle. Although the frequency of claw lesions depends greatly on herd management, the frequency can be lowered through genetic selection. A genetic evaluation could be developed based on trimming records collected by claw trimmers; however, not all cows present in a herd are usually selected by the breeder to be trimmed. The objectives of this study were to investigate the importance of the preselection of cows for trimming, to account for this preselection, and to estimate genetic parameters of claw health traits. The final data set contained 25,511 trimming records of French Holstein cows. Analyzed claw lesion traits were digital dermatitis, heel horn erosion, inter digital hyperplasia, sole hemorrhage circumscribed, sole hemorrhage diffused, sole ulcer, and white line fissure. All traits were analyzed as binary traits in a multitrait linear animal model. Three scenarios were considered: including only trimmed cows in a 7-trait model (scenario 1); or trimmed cows and contemporary cows not trimmed but present at the time of a visit (considering that nontrimmed cows were healthy) in a 7-trait model (scenario 2); or trimmed cows and contemporary cows not trimmed but present at the time of a visit (considering lesion records for trimmed cows only), in an 8-trait model, including a 0/1 trimming status trait (scenario 3). For scenario 3, heritability estimates ranged from 0.02 to 0.09 on the observed scale. Genetic correlations clearly revealed 2 groups of traits (digital dermatitis, heel horn erosion, and interdigital hyperplasia on the one hand, and sole hemorrhage circumscribed, sole hemorrhage diffused, sole ulcer, and white line fissure on the other hand). Heritabilities on the underlying scale did not vary much depending on the scenario: the effect of the preselection of cows for trimming on the estimation of heritabilities appeared to be negligible. However, including untrimmed cows as healthy caused bias in the estimation of genetic correlations. The use of a trimming status trait to account for preselection appears promising, as it allows consideration of the exhaustive population of cows present at the time a trimmer visited a farm without causing bias in genetic parameters.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 2:12:45 AM
Last modification on : Friday, January 14, 2022 - 3:24:04 PM

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Iola Croué, Freddy Fikse, Kjell Johansson, Emma Carlen, Gilles Thomas, et al.. Genetic evaluation of claw health traits accounting for potential preselection of cows to be trimmed. Journal of Dairy Science, American Dairy Science Association, 2017, 100 (10), pp.8197 - 8204. ⟨10.3168/jds.2017-13002⟩. ⟨hal-02629146⟩

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