Monitoring and improving the metabolic health of dairy cows during the transition period

Luciano S. Caixeta, Bobwealth O. Omontese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The peripartum period of a dairy cow is characterized by several physiological and behavioral changes in response to a rapid increase in nutrient demands, to support the final stages of fetal growth and the production of colostrum and milk. Traditionally, the transition period is defined as the period 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after parturition. However, several researchers have argued that the transition period begins at the time of dry-off (~60–50 days prior to calving) and extends beyond the first month post-calving in high producing dairy cows. Independent of the definition used, adequate adaptation to the physiological demands of this period is paramount for a successful lactation. Nonetheless, not all cows are successful in transitioning from late gestation to early lactation, leading to approximately one third of dairy cows having at least one clinical disease (metabolic and/or infectious) and more than half of the cows having at least one subclinical case of disease within the first 90 days of lactation. Thus, monitoring dairy cows during this period is essential to detect early disease signs, diagnose clinical and subclinical diseases, and initiate targeted health management to avoid health and production impairment. In this review, we discuss different strategies to monitor dairy cows to detected unintended disruptions in performance and management strategies that can be implemented to improve the metabolic health and performance of dairy cows during the transition period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number352
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Dairy cow management
  • Dairy nutrition
  • Early lactation
  • Hyperketonemia
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Performance


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