Fabio Lima is an assistant professor of theriogenology.
How long have you been practicing bovine theriogenology?
I have been working with bovine theriogenology for 11 years since I received my veterinary degree at São Paulo State University in December 2004. During the last year of my veterinary training, I spent six months at University of Wisconsin–Madison, working with postpartum health disorders, reproductive physiology, and management of dairy cows. In 2005 I did an internship focused on dairy production medicine, reproduction, and nutrition at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center at Tulare (University of California–Davis). From 2006 to 2009 I did a combined residency in food animal medicine and reproduction and a master in veterinary sciences focused on reproductive management, at University of Florida. In 2013 I earned a PhD in animal sciences at University of Florida working with uterine health and estrous cycle synchronization in dairy heifers. From 2013 to 2014 I completed a postdoctoral training focused on uterine diseases pathogenesis and rumen microbiome associations with production traits, at the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell University. Throughout my PhD and postdoctoral studies, I continued to work regularly with reproductive management at large dairy herds in Florida and New York helping to implement strategies to improve fertility at herd and individual cow level.
What is it about your work that interests you the most?
I can contribute to restoration, maintenance, and improvement of fertility at the herd and individual level. Reproduction is front and center for perpetuation of species and efficiency of any food animal system. My work allows me to add value to livestock producers by implementing reproductive strategies that improve fertility and sustainability of their business. Moreover, my work allows me to troubleshoot individual cases of subfertility, which in turn provide opportunities to extend reproductive life of our clients’ animals.
What are you speaking on or publishing about?
Due to the character of my research program, my portfolio of speeches and publications has diversified. I have been invited to speak in the U.S., UK, and Brazil about strategies to improve fertility of dairy heifers and also the effects on antimicrobial therapy on the uterine microbiome of metritic cows. My recent publications include investigation of mechanisms associated with endometritis pathogenesis, comparison of economical and reproductive efficiency breeding strategies in dairy heifers, effects of rumen microbiome on production traits, among others.
What should large animal practitioners be aware of regarding bovine reproduction?
The one thing that practitioners need to keep as a top priority in their relationship with clients is a clear vision of how they are adding value to animal owners, either at an individual level or at the herd level. Providing the service requested is critically important and valuable. However, for those of us serving livestock producers at a population setting, it is paramount to have a holistic view of their business to help identify bottlenecks that need adjustment in order to promote improved performance and sustainability. Using the example of reproductive management at the herd level, it is necessary to be aware and have a thorough understanding of metrics of reproductive performance, compliance, and other managerial areas (nutrition, health, welfare) that can directly impact fertility in order to aid producers in the decision-making process to improve overall performance, which can then translate into substantial value to our clients.
Are there any new developments in bovine reproduction that veterinarians would find useful in the field?
One new development is the confirmation that the use of fixed time insemination, based on 5-d CIDR Cosynch program, in dairy heifers can be economically beneficial when compared with exclusive use insemination after estrus detection, even in farms with very good 21-d insemination rates (82.4%). This conclusion was presented in a recent prospective cohort study that we published at the Journal of Dairy Science in 2015 (J. Dairy Sci. 98:7810–7822). An economic benefit of $17 per pregnancy was obtained in dairy heifers subjected to timed AI for the first service (followed by insemination after estrus detection) when compared with a breeding program based solely on insemination after estrus detection.