New article in Journal of Dairy Science

A new publication from collaborators and our lab members, Jaesung Youn and Dr. Tagkopoulos, about Integration of statistical inferences and machine learning algorithms for prediction of metritis cure in dairy cows.

Abstract: The study’s objectives were to identify cow-level and environmental factors associated with metritis cure to predict metritis cure using traditional statistics and machine learning algorithms. The data set used was from a previous study comparing the efficacy of different therapies and self-cure for metritis. Metritis was defined as fetid, watery, reddish-brownish discharge, with or without fever. Cure was defined as an absence of metritis signs 12 d after diagnosis. Cows were randomly allocated to receive a subcutaneous injection of 6.6 mg/kg of ceftiofur crystalline-free acid (Excede, Zoetis) at the day of diagnosis and 3 d later (n = 275); and no treatment at the time of metritis diagnosis (n = 275). The variables days in milk (DIM) at metritis diagnosis, treatment, season of the metritis diagnosis, month of metritis diagnostic, number of lactation, parity, calving score, dystocia, retained fetal membranes, body condition score at d 5 postpartum, vulvovaginal laceration score, the rectal temperature at the metritis diagnosis, fever at diagnosis, milk production from the day before to metritis diagnosis, and milk production slope up to 5, 7, and 9 DIM were offered to univariate logistic regression. Variables included in the multivariable logistic regression model were selected from the univariate analysis according to P-value. Variables were offered to the model to assess the association between these factors and metritis cure. Additionally, the univariate logistic regression variables were offered to a recursive feature elimination to find the optimal subset of features for a machine learning algorithms analysis. Cows without vulvovaginal laceration had 1.91 higher odds of curing of metritis than cows with vulvovaginal laceration. Cows that developed metritis at >7 DIM had 2.09 higher odds of being cured than cows that developed metritis at ≤7 DIM. For rectal temperature, each degree Celsius above 39.4°C led to lower odds to be cured than cows with rectal temperature ≤39.4°C. Furthermore, milk production slope and milk production difference from the day before to the metritis diagnosis were essential variables to predict metritis cure. Cows that had reduced milk production from the day before to the metritis diagnosis had lower odds to be cured than cows with moderate milk production increase. The results from the multivariable logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated that cows developing metritis at >7 DIM, with increase in milk production, and with a rectal temperature ≤39.40°C had increased likelihood of cure of metritis with an accuracy of 75%. The machine learning analysis showed that in addition to these variables, calving-related disorders, season, and month of metritis event were needed to predict whether the cow will cure or not from metritis with an accuracy ≥70% and F1 score (harmonic mean between precision and recall) ≥0.78. Although machine learning algorithms are acknowledged as powerful tools for predictive classification, the current study was unable to replicate its potential benefits. More research is needed to optimize predictive models of metritis cure.

Reference: de Oliveira, Eduardo Barros, Fernanda Ferreira, Klibs Galvao, Jason Youn, Ilias Tagkopoulos, Noelia Silva-del-Rio, Richard Van Vleck Pereira, Vinicius Machado, Fabio Lima. “Integration of statistical inferences and machine learning algorithms for prediction of metritis cure in dairy cows.” Journal of Dairy Science (2021). doi: 10.3168/jds.2021-20262 (link)(GitHub)