Main content area

Assessing the Correlation Structure in Cow Udder Quarter Infection Times Through Extensions of the Correlated Frailty Model

Kuhn, Estelle, Goethals, Klara, El-Nouty, Charles, Duchateau, Luc
Journal of agricultural, biological, and environmental statistics 2016 v.21 no.4 pp. 601-618
algorithms, dairy cows, herds, models, risk factors, udder quarters
The association between infection times of the udder quarters of a dairy cow is essential information for the preventive control of udder infections in a dairy cow herd. Extensions of the correlated frailty model are proposed to investigate and compare different correlation structures among the four udder quarter infection times clustered within a cow. Such complex frailty models can be fitted with the SAEM-MCMC algorithm. It is demonstrated that substantial correlation exists between the udder quarter infection times, with the correlation within front and rear udder quarters being larger than between front and rear udder quarters. This signifies that an infected udder quarter is a risk factor for the other udder quarters, especially when the udder quarter is in the same region, i.e., front or rear.