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J Vet Sci. 2011 Sep;12(3):251-5.

Relationship among blood indicators of lipomobilization and hepatic function during early lactation in high-yielding dairy cows.

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Faculdade de Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Blood indicators are used as a tool to diagnose metabolic disorders. The present work was conducted to study the relationships among blood indicators of lipomobilization and hepatic function in high-yielding dairy cows. Two groups of Holstein cows were studied: 27 early lactation cows and 14 mid lactation cows from four different herds with similar husbandry characteristics in Galicia, Spain. Blood samples were obtained to measure beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), triglycerides (TG), and the activity of aspartate transaminase (AST) and gamma-glutamyl transferase. Cows in early lactation had higher levels of BHB and NEFA than mid lactation cows. High lipomobilization (NEFA > 400 µmol/L) was detected in 67% and 7% of early lactation and mid lactation cows, respectively, while subclinical ketosis (BHB > 1.2 mmol/L) was detected in 41% and 28% of the early lactation and lactation cows, respectively. TG concentrations were low in all cows suffering subclinical ketosis and in 61% of the cows with high lipomobilization. During early lactation, 30% of cows suffered hepatic lipidosis as detected by levels of AST. Compromised hepatic function was observed in early lactation cows as shown by lower concentrations of glucose, total protein, and urea.


blood biochemistry; hepatic lipidosis; high-yielding dairy cow; ketosis

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