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J Dairy Sci. 2008 Jun;91(6):2449-60. doi: 10.3168/jds.2006-838.

Influence of anionic salts on bone metabolism in periparturient dairy goats and sheep.

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Institute of Animal Nutrition, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of diets supplemented with anionic salts on bone metabolism of dairy goats and sheep. Twelve Saanen goats and 12 Ostfrisean milk sheep (fourth lactation) were divided into 2 groups each [sheep control (SC), goat control (GC); sheep anionic salts (SA), goat anionic salts (GA)]. Each group was fed a different diet in the last 10 d of gestation. Groups SC and GC received a normal diet according to the requirements of goats and sheep in this stage of gestation. Groups SA and GA received supplemental anionic salts. The dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) was +524 (SC) and +515 (GC) vs. -163 (SA) and -164 (GA) mEq/kg of dry matter. Blood and urine samples were collected daily until parturition. Serum Ca, P, Mg, serum crosslaps (CTX), osteocalcin, 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D (VITD), urinary pH, and urinary Ca concentrations were analyzed. Bone mineral density and bone mineral content were measured with peripheral quantitative computer tomography. The bone resorption marker CTX showed significant differences between the animals supplemented with anionic salts and the control animals in goats, but not in sheep. The goats receiving anionic salts had greater CTX concentrations throughout the administration of the salts. In sheep, a difference was only observed on the day of parturition. Similar observations were made in VITD concentrations, although a significant difference between the goat groups was only observed 3 d prepartum. The bone formation marker osteocalcin was lower prepartum in the animals supplemented with anionic salts. The urinary pH was lower in the SA and GA animals, whereas urinary Ca concentrations were greater. Bone mineral content and bone mineral density decreased in all groups around parturition. In conclusion, this experiment showed that the addition of anionic salts in goats led to greater bone resorption rates while on this feeding regimen. It can be concluded that the anionic salts induced a mild metabolic acidosis with all its effects on calcium metabolism. These effects were not evident in milk sheep.

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