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Study finds surprising benefits about diary cow inflammation
Date:7/12/2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Inflammation. The word typically has a negative connotation. Arthritis infection numerous maladies come to mind.

But a Kansas State University researcher found that inflammation that occurs naturally in dairy cows the first few days after giving birth may play a surprisingly beneficial role in the complex process of going from late pregnancy to lactation.

"We know that during the first several days after giving birth and going into the lactating phase, dairy cows naturally experience some degree of inflammation," said Barry Bradford, associate professor in the university's department of animal sciences and industry. "We also know that many disorders, including metabolic diseases such as ketosis and fatty liver, occur during this time of transition."

He, along with a team of researchers from Kansas State University, Iowa State University and Michigan State University, wondered if inflammation actually causes the metabolic problems.

Thinking that reducing inflammation during this period might be beneficial for the cow's transition from gestation to lactation, plus limit metabolic disease, Bradford and the team conducted a study. The objective was to determine if using an anti-inflammatory drug (sodium salicylate or SS) for the first seven days of lactation would prevent liver fat accumulation, improve the supply of glucose for lactation, and limit metabolic disease in dairy cows entering lactation. SS was delivered to the animals in a controlled way to their drinking water.

The team did not get the result they expected.

"Our findings suggest that mild inflammation may be a necessary part of a cow's adaptation to lactation," Bradford said.

Among the significant findings, the research showed that rather than preventing fatty liver by blocking the inflammation, liver fat content was actually increased in the first week of lactation. Similarly, anti-inflammatory treatment led to a dr
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Contact: Barry Bradford
bbradfor@k-state.edu
785-532-7974
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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