High yielding dairy cows undergo a period of energy deficit in early lactation and mobilise body reserves for milk production. In this period a high proportion of cows develop moderate or severe fatty liver. Fat is deposited in other tissues at the same time, particularly skeletal muscle. The relationship between measurements of fat mobilisation and fat deposition in liver and muscle has been investigated in a group of 19 cows in the post calving period. Cows with higher levels of indices of mobilisation, namely plasma free fatty acid and D(--) -3- hydroxybutyrate concentration and subcutaneous adipose tissue loss, had higher indices of fat deposition in liver and skeletal muscle. Statistical analysis of the data indicated that fatty liver was part of a more general fat mobilisation syndrome which was not specific to any one organ or tissue.
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