Article Text

Effects of supplementing pregnant heifers with methionine or melatonin on the anatomy and other characteristics of their lateral hind claws
  1. H. Galbraith, BSc, PhD1,
  2. M. Rae, HND1,
  3. T. Omand, BSc1,
  4. K. A. K. Hendry, BSc, PhD2,
  5. C. H. Knight, BSc, PhD2 and
  6. C. J. Wilde, BSc, PhD2
  1. 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Hilton Place, Aberdeen AB24 4FA
  2. 2Hannah Research Institute, Ayr KA6 5HL


Three groups of four primiparous Holstein-Friesian heifers were fed throughout pregnancy either a control diet or that diet supplemented with either 5 to 6 g per day of rumen-protected intestinally available methionine or 25 mg melatonin. They were euthanased three days after calving. The dietary supplements had no effect on the impression hardness or the concentrations of cysteine and methionine in samples of claw horn collected from a range of sites, or on the areas of erosion in the sole and heel. Significant differences were recorded for the hardness of the horn in the order wall>sole>heel. These differences were associated with higher concentrations of cysteine and lower concentrations of methionine in samples of horn from the dorsal wall than in samples from the prebulbar region of the sole. There were no significant differences attributable to the dietary supplements in the soft tissue anatomy of the solear dermis and epidermis.

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