The objective of the study was to compare Holstein cows selected for large versus small body size for health care cost. All health treatments were recorded for cows from 1983 to 2005, and treatments were assigned to 1 of 11 categories of health disorders. Actual cost for veterinary treatments, health supplies, and drugs, as well as the value of labor required by animal attendants, was recorded. Data were for 1,035 lactations of 486 cows, of which 199 cows were from the large line and 287 cows were from the small line. Large-line cows had significantly greater total health cost than small-line cows during first lactation and tended to have greater total health cost for the first 3 lactations of cows. During first lactation, large-line cows had a total health cost of $62.41, and small-line cows had a total health cost of $41.41. Cows in the large line had significantly greater health cost for the individual categories of displaced abomasum and pneumonia than small-line cows during first lactation. Across the first 3 lactations, large-line cows had a total health cost per lactation of $54.15 and small-line cows had a total cost of $38.09. Cows in the large line had significantly greater health cost for the categories of locomotion and displaced abomasum across the first 3 lactations than small-line cows. Cost for displaced abomasum accounted for most the difference of health cost between the body size lines for both first lactation and for the first 3 lactations of cows.
- Body size
- Health cost