Navigation Links
Low levels of blood calcium in dairy cows may affect cow health and productivity, MU study finds

COLUMBIA, Mo. The health of dairy cows after giving birth plays a big factor in the quantity and quality of the milk the cows produce. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that subclinical hypocalcemia, which is the condition of having low levels of calcium in the blood and occurs in many cows after giving birth, is related to higher levels of fat in the liver. John Middleton, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says these higher levels of fat are often precursors to future health problems in cows.

"We found that about 50 percent of dairy cows suffered subclinical hypocalcemia and subsequent higher levels of fat in the liver after giving birth to their calves," Middleton said. "These higher levels of fat in the liver are often tied to health problems in dairy cows, including increased risk for uterus and mammary infections as well as ketosis, which is a condition that results in the cows expending more energy than they are taking in through their diet. All of these conditions can decrease the amount of milk these dairy cows will produce."

Middleton, along with Jim Spain, MU vice provost for undergraduate studies and professor of dairy nutrition in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, studied 100 dairy cows over two years to determine how subclinical hypocalcemia affected the health of the cows after they gave birth. Previous research done at MU has found that these issues also have a negative impact on cow fertility and reproduction. While the researchers did not find any direct links to health problems, they say correlations with higher levels of fat in the liver call for further research into the health implications of low blood calcium levels.

Dairy cows begin producing milk after giving birth, and continue for 11 to 12 months until they are "dried off" by a dairy farmer about 45-60 days before their next calving. To maximize the health of the cows and the amount of quality milk dairy cows produce, Middleton recommends paying close attention to dietary management in the late dry/early lactating period as well as providing supplemental sources of calcium during early lactation for cows at risk for subclinical hypocalcemia.

"Because our study suggests some potential risks for health issues in dairy cows with subclinical hypocalcemia, it is important for dairy farmers to monitor these levels in their cows," Middleton said. "For herds experiencing a high incidence of subclinical hypocalcemia around the time of calving, adding anionic salts to their diets or providing calcium solutions orally or by injection at the time of calving could be beneficial to their overall health and productivity."


Contact: Nathan Hurst
University of Missouri-Columbia

Related biology news :

1. Despite menu changes, calorie and sodium levels in chain restaurant entrees remain the same overall
2. Safe levels of environmental pollution may have long-term health consequences
3. Mercury levels in Pacific fish likely to rise in coming decades
4. Elevated levels of copper in amyloid plaques associated with neurodegeneration in mouse models of AD
5. Tropical ecosystems regulate variations in Earths carbon dioxide levels
6. Fear factor: Missing brain enzyme leads to abnormal levels of fear in mice, reveals new research
7. Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests
8. Research shows Vitamin D levels drop after pediatric heart surgery, increasing sickness
9. Study shows probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 significantly increased vitamin D levels
10. Exposure to high pollution levels during pregnancy may increase risk of having child with autism
11. Obese male mice father offspring with higher levels of body fat
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig ... report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and ... Department of Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic ... 2010. --> --> ... also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., ... U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation products, ... Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has ... preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis ... and prognostic applications in cancer and other conditions. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... October 29, 2015 NXTD ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and ... Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... of a new, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) 10000 in the Santiago Marriott. The ... available, and is operated by a world-class team of qualified medical researchers and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  Culprits beware, a University ... professor Jan Halámek, is taking crime scene fingerprint ...   -->   ... --> --> Halámek ... discovered a straightforward concept for identifying whether a ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... N.J. , Nov. 30, 2015  Champions Oncology, ... solutions and services to personalize the development and use ... , Chief Executive Officer, will be presenting at the ... at 4:30pm Pacific Standard Time (PST).  The conference, held ... Los Angeles, CA , will feature 200 ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... CHICAGO, Ill. , Nov. 30, 2015  AbbVie, ... all-inclusive program that focuses on a daily routine for ... patients take their medication can affect the way the ... and follow to their a daily routine are important. ... is to help patients better manage their hypothyroidism by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: