Metabolic-digestive clinical disorders of lactating dairy cows were associated with alterations of rumination, physical activity, and lying behavior monitored by an ear-attached sensor

C. Rial, A. Laplacette, L. Caixeta, C. Florentino, F. Peña-Mosca, J. O. Giordano

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1 Scopus citations


The objective of this observational cohort study was to characterize the pattern of rumination time (RT), physical activity (PA), and lying time (LT) monitored by an automated health monitoring system, based on an ear-attached sensor, immediately before, during, and after clinical diagnosis (CD) of metabolic-digestive disorders. Sensor data were collected from 820 lactating Holstein cows monitored daily from calving up to 21 DIM for detection of health disorders (HD). Cows were grouped retrospectively in the no-clinical health disorder group (NCHD; n = 616) if no HD were diagnosed, or the metabolic-digestive group (METB-DIG; n = 58) if diagnosed with clinical ketosis or indigestion only. Cows with another clinical health disorder within −7 to +7 d of CD of displaced abomasum, clinical ketosis, or indigestion were included in the metabolic-digestive plus one group (METB-DIG+1; n = 25). Daily RT, PA, and LT, and absolute and relative changes within −7 to +7 d of CD were analyzed with linear mixed models with or without repeated measures. Rumination time and PA were smaller, and LT was greater for the METB-DIG and METB-DIG+1 group than for cows in the NCHD group for most days from −7 to +7 d of CD of HD. In general, daily RT, PA, and LT differences were larger between the METB-DIG+1 and NCHD groups than between the METB-DIG and NCHD groups. In most cases, RT and PA decreased to a nadir and LT increased to a peak immediately before or after CD of HD, with a return to levels similar to the NCHD group within 7 d of CD. Absolute values and relative changes from 5 d before CD to the day of the nadir for RT and PA or peak for LT were different for cows in the METB-DIG and METB-DIG+1 group than for the NCHD group. For PA, the METB-DIG+1 group had greater changes than the METB-DIG group. For cows affected by metabolic-digestive disorders, RT, PA, and LT on the day of CD and resolution of clinical signs were different than for cows in the NCHD group, but an increase in RT and PA or a decrease in LT was observed from the day of CD to the day of resolution of clinical signs. We conclude that dairy cows diagnosed with metabolic-digestive disorders including displaced abomasum, clinical ketosis, and indigestion presented substantial alterations in the pattern of RT, PA, and LT captured by an ear-attached sensor. Thus, automated health monitoring systems based on ear-attached sensors might be used as an aid for identifying cows with metabolic-digestive disorders. Moreover, RT, PA, and LT changes after CD might be positive indicators of recovery from metabolic-digestive disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9323-9344
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Dairy Science Association


  • automation
  • dairy cow
  • ear-attached sensor
  • health monitoring
  • sensor

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Journal Article


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