Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 34, Number 1, January-February 2003
Page(s) 85 - 104
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2003) 85-104
Vet. Res. 34 (2003) 85-104
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2002058

An individual modelling tool for within and between lactation consecutive cases of clinical mastitis in the dairy cow: an approach based on a survival model

Patrick Gasquia, Jean-Baptiste Coulonb and Odile Ponsc

a  Unité d'Épidémiologie Animale, INRA, 63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France
b  Unité de Recherche sur les Herbivores, INRA, 63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France
c  Unité de Biométrie, INRA, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France

(Received 21 December 2001; accepted 22 August 2002)

Clinical mastitis in dairy cows has for many years been the subject of numerous epidemiological surveys to determine the main risk factors. In most cases this data has been analysed using a standard Poisson model without taking into consideration possible dependence between consecutive pathological events. These analyses have brought to light a great many potential risk factors without making it possible to clarify a certain amount of confusion surrounding the effects. The extension of an individual within a lactation model, considering dependence between clinical cases of mastitis within lactation so as to take into account inter-lactation dependence (which has already been published) is presented in the form of mixed distributions within the same survival model framework. By introducing new parameters, infection rate at calving and the identification of a higher exogenous infection rate indoors than at pasture, it is possible to take into consideration what had previously appeared to be a lactation stage factor, a calving month factor or even part of a parity factor. By considering these two types of dependence within the same model, it appears to be possible to obtain a simpler model in terms of the factors to be taken into account, and one that is based on generally acknowledged and easily understandable biological considerations. Lastly, a possible way of extending the model is to consider the dry period before calving and this is presented. This would make it possible to envisage developing a complete model of the animal's lifetime in the not-too-distant future. It is still necessary, however, to determine the farming system factors in the general sense of the term, which specifically affect one or the other of the different model parameters, before one can draw conclusions as to the potential extension of this type of model. A national survey is currently being carried out on approximately 600 French breeding farms that will help meet this last objective.

Key words: clinical mastitis / individual model / dairy cow / survival model / recurrence

Correspondence and reprints: Patrick Gasqui tel. (33) 4 73 62 42 65; fax: (33) 4 73 62 45 48;

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003

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