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Detecting subclinical ketosis in recently calved cows

S. Borchardt, R. Staufenbiel

SUBCLINICAL ketosis in dairy cattle is associated with increased risk of clinical diseases and economic losses. Herd-based testing for metabolic variables has been previously recommended for the diagnosis of subclinical diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) in pooled serum samples for herd-based detection of subclinical ketosis in dairy cows during the first week after calving.

A total of 110 herds were studied, with blood samples collected from 10 healthy cows per herd in the first week after parturition. Concentrations of NEFA and BHBA were measured to estimate the prevalence of subclinical ketosis. Pooled sample tests were then compared with those obtained from individuals. A number of statistical methods including linear regression, receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis and Bland-Altman plots were used to evaluate the agreement between the two methods.

Overall prevalence of subclinical ketosis was 30.7 per cent, 19.3 per cent and 13.6 per cent as determined using BHBA threshold concentrations of 1000, 1200 and 1400 µmol/l, respectively. Pooled sample concentrations of BHBA and …

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