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Effects of copper supplementation on the copper status of peripartum beef cows and their calves
  1. F. Enjalbert, PhD, DVM, DipECVCN1,
  2. O. Salat, DVM1,
  3. F. Schelcher, PhD, DVM2,
  4. P. Lebreton3 and
  5. F. Meschy, PhD4
  1. 1 École Nationale Vétérinaire, Laboratoire d'Alimentation
  2. 2 UMR INRA-ENVT de Physiopathologie Infectieuse et Parasitaire des Ruminants, 23 Chemin des Capelles, 31076 Toulouse Cedex 3, France
  3. 3 Centre de Recherche Vétoquinol BP 189, 70204 Lure Cedex, France
  4. 4 UMR INRA-INAPG Physiologie de la Nutrition et Alimentation, 16 Rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France


The effects of copper supplementation on the copper status of 40 late-pregnant Aubrac beef cows grazing a copper-deficient pasture and later fed a marginally deficient diet were studied for five months. They were divided into four equal groups; the control group received no copper supplement, groups 1 and 2 received copper as copper sulphate at 10 and 30 mg/kg of diet dry matter (DM), respectively, for five months, and group 3 received 120 mg/kg of diet dry matter for 10 days. Plasma copper concentration and the activity of erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (esoD) were measured at the beginning of the experiment, in the cows and calves during weeks 1 and 3 after calving, and in the calves before they were turned out to pasture at a mean (sd) age of 51 (26) days. In spite of the low dietary copper content (4.2 mg/kg of DM), the plasma copper concentration of the control cows increased during the winter. All the copper supplements resulted in normal and similar plasma copper concentrations in the cows after calving, but the concentration decreased slightly between weeks 1 and 3 after calving in the group supplemented for 10 days. The treatments did not affect the eSOD of the cows. The calves born to the four groups showed the same patterns of plasma copper and esoD. Compared with the cows, the calves had low plasma copper concentrations at week 1 and values in the normal range at week 3; their esoD was high at weeks 1 and 3 but decreased after week 3.

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