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Can J Vet Res. 1988 Jan;52(1):99-105.

Reference values of blood parameters in beef cattle of different ages and stages of lactation.

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Canada Agriculture, Research Station, Lacombe, Alberta.


Reference (normal) values for 12 blood serum components were determined for 48 Shorthorn cows (2-10 years old) and their 48 calves, 357 crossbred cows (12-14 years old), 36 feedlot bulls and 36 feedlot steers. In addition, hemoglobin, hematocrit, triiodothyronine, thyroxine and cortisol levels were determined for the crossbred cows, and feedlot bulls and steers. Reference values were tabulated according to sex, age and stage of lactation. Serum concentrations of urea, total protein and bilirubin, and serum activity of aspartate aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase increased with age (P less than 0.05), while calcium, phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase decreased with age (P less than 0.05) from birth to the age of ten years. The Shorthorn cows had the highest levels of glucose at parturition (P less than 0.05) with decreasing levels during lactation. Creatinine concentration decreased during lactation and increased during postweaning. Both lactate dehydrogenase and aspartate aminotransferase levels increased (P less than 0.05) during lactation. Urea and uric acid were present at higher concentrations in lactating than nonlactating cows (P less than 0.05). The values reported, based on a wide age range and large number of cattle, could serve as clinical guides and a basis for further research.

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