Relationship between Body Condition Score and Ultrasonographic Measurement of Subcutaneous Fat in Dairy Cows

  • Zulu, Victor Chisha ;
  • Nakao, Toshihiko ;
  • Moriyoshi, Masaharu ;
  • Nakada, Ken ;
  • Sawamukai, Yutaka ;
  • Tanaka, Yoshinobu ;
  • Zhang, Wen-Chang
  • Received : 2000.10.26
  • Accepted : 2001.01.27
  • Published : 2001.06.01


This study aimed at relating body condition score (BCS) to ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous fat over the areas most commonly used to BCS Holstein-Friesian cows, and determining the practicality of ultrasound measurement of subcutaneous fat for assessment of energy status of the cow. Twenty-eight cows were scored to the nearest quarter point on a scale of 1-5 (1=thin and 5=fat) using both visual and tactile techniques. On the same day, ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous fat were obtained at the lumbar transverse process, thurl and near the tailhead areas on both sides of the cow making six locations. Spearman's rank correlation coefficients between the six ultrasound locations ranged from 0.72-0.93 and were all significantly different from zero (p<0.01). Correlation coefficients between BCS and the mean lumbar, thurl and tailhead ultrasound measurements ranged between 0.67-0.72 and were also significantly different from zero (p<0.01). BCS was highly and significantly correlated to ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous fat. Ultrasound can be used independently or in conjunction with BCS to estimate the nutrition and energy status of cows.


Body Condition Score;Cow;Ultrasound

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