Objective—To determine the effect of transportation stress on serum concentrations of oxidative stress biomarkers of calves.
Animals—105 crossbred beef steer calves (mean [± SD] body weight, 207 ± 21.2 kg).
Procedure—Calves were assembled at 1 location in Tennessee, and pretransit (day –3) blood samples were collected. Calves were allotted randomly by body weight into 2 groups. Calves were transported 1,930 miles to a feedlot in Texas, and 1 group received tilmicosin phosphate (33 µg/kg, SC) upon arrival. Calves were weighed and blood samples collected on the day of arrival (day 1) and on days 15, 22, and 28. Calves were scored daily for signs of bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Serum total antioxidant capacity (TACA) and serum malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations were determined.
Results—Transportation stress significantly decreased mean serum TACA concentrations (from 147 ± 31.2 U/mL to 133 ± 20.1 U/mL) and significantly increased serum MDA concentrations (from 10.9 ± 18.3 µg/mL to 30.2 ± 50.5 µg/mL). Calves that died had a 43% increase in serum MDA concentration on day 1, compared with calves that lived (42.2 ± 67.0 µg/mL vs 29.4 ± 49.4 µg/mL, respectively). Calves that had ≥ 3 episodes of BRD had 2-fold higher serum MDA concentrations on day 1 than healthy calves. Tilmicosintreated calves had a 20.8% significantly greater average daily gain and significantly greater serum TACA concentration than nontreated calves on day 28.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Transportation stress increases serum concentrations of oxidative stress biomarkers that are related to episodes of BRD and mortality in calves. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:860–864)