Genetic relationship between foot and claw health traits and lameness in Czech Holstein cattle
The heritabilities and genetic correlations for foot and claw disorders and lameness (L) were estimated in the Czech Holstein cattle by repeatability linear animal models, optionally with random herd_year (hy) effects. The disorders and L, as 0/1 occurrence from calving to 305 d of lactation, 47,174 lactations of 31,750 Holstein cows were recorded on 52 farms in the Czech Republic from 2017 to 2019 using the national web application “The Diary of Diseases and Medication” designed for the continuous recording and evaluation of health traits based on the farmers. Three groups of foot and claw disorders were defined: skin diseases (SD), including digital and interdigital dermatitis, and interdigital phlegmon; claw disorders (CD) including ulcers, white line disease, horn fissures, and double sole; and overall foot and claw disorders (OFCD) comprising all the recorded disorders and L. Digital dermatitis (DD), interdigital phlegmon (IP), ulcers (U) and lameness (L) were analysed as separate traits. Lactational incidence rates (number of affected lactations/number of lactations at risk x 100) for CD, SD, and L were 9.9, 5.7, and 4.8%, respectively. Estimates of heritability were from 0.008 for IP, to 0.042 for CD and 0.043 for L or U when no random hy was employed. If random hy was included in the model heritability decreased due to the increase of the total explained variance. Phenotypic correlations of foot and claw disorders to lameness were lower than 0.069 (IP). On the contrary, those between foot and claw disorder traits were high; U and CD 0.963, DD and SD 0.823.
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