Impairments in immune function and a pro-inflammatory state coincide at the start of lactation in many dairy cows and are associated with greater risk for disease. A growing number of feed and pharmaceutical products are offering a variety of means to attempt to enhance immune function in the transition period and other tools are being tested for limiting inflammation during the transition period. Inherent links between inflammation and immunity raise important questions about whether dairies can "have their cake and eat it, too," by improving immunity while avoiding inflammatory condition. These questions are still being resolved; however, several studies point to the suggestion that net benefits on health and productivity can be achieved. It is likely that some herds may benefit most from anti-inflammatory strategies, while others may benefit most from immune promotion tools. To date, there has been essentially no research on combinations of these strategies.
Dr. Barry Bradford, Kansas State University
Dr. Bradford is a Professor of Metabolic Physiology in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. He completed his Ph.D. at Michigan State University where he studied mechanisms underlying nutrient-induced satiety. Bradford currently oversees a diverse research program focused on interactions of inflammation and matbolism, signaling effects of nutrients, and novel approaches to formulation of dairy cattle rations. In addition, he teaches more than 180 students per year in animal nutrition and physiology courses. Through his research and education efforts, Bradford seeks to improve the sustainability of animal-derived foods primarily by improving the health and productivity of dairy cattle.