The postpartum period is the time of highest risk for infectious and inflammatory diseases of the dairy cow. The characteristic immune phenotype is one of decreased ability for efficient pathogen clearance. Paradoxically, it is accompanied by a hyperinflammatory and host-damaging response and often leads to a chronic inflammatory state. Due to these features, we define this risk period today as a period of immune dysfunction rather than one of immune suppression. The time of these observed changes coincides with the time of the greatest metabolic challenge for the dairy cow. Epidemiologically we have been able to link the severity of immune dysfunction to a particular severe energy deficit and development of ketosis, but the mechanistic link is still under investigation. In this session, we will review the immune dysfunction of the transition cow, its risk factors, novel research regarding possible mechanisms that lead to this dysfunction. Current control and treatment strategies that are under active investigation in the field of dairy science will be discussed.
Upon completion, participants will be able to define the features of the immune dysfunction of the postpartum dairy cow and understand the associated risks for health and productivity.
Upon completion, participants will have learned about immune system mechanisms that lead to dysfunction of the immune response of postpartum cows.
Upon completion, participants will have learned about the current research in prevention and treatment of postpartum inflammation of dairy cows.