Advertisement

Sensitivity and specificity of serum copper determination for detection of copper deficiency in feeder calves

Ronald K. Tessman DVM1, Jeff Lakritz DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Jeff W. Tyler DVM, PhD, DACVIM3, Stan W. Casteel DVM, PhD, DABVT4, James E. Williams PhD5, and Randy K. Dew PhD6
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65202.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65202.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65202.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65202.
  • | 5 Department of Animal Science, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65202.
  • | 6 Kent Feeds, 1600 Oregon St, Muscatine, IA 52761.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the relationship between serum and liver copper concentrations and evaluate serum copper determination for diagnosis of copper deficiency in juvenile beef calves.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—105 juvenile beef calves.

Procedure—Copper concentrations were measured in paired liver and serum samples from 6- to 9-monthold beef calves. Regression models that predicted liver copper concentration as a function of serum copper concentration were developed. Sensitivity and specificity of serum copper concentration for detection of low liver copper concentration were determined, using a range of serum copper concentrations as test endpoints. Positive and negative predictive values were calculated.

Results—The association between serum and liver copper concentrations was significant; however, regression models accounted for only a small portion of the variation in liver copper concentrations. For a serum copper concentration endpoint of 0.45 µg/g, sensitivity and specificity for detection of low liver copper concentration were 0.53 and 0.89, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values of serum copper concentration for detection of low liver copper concentration ranged from 0.37 to 0.85 and 0.63 to 0.94, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Regression models are inappropriate for predicting copper status as a function of serum copper concentration. Serum copper concentration is fairly specific for detection of low liver copper concentration but only marginally sensitive when serum copper concentration of 0.45 µg/g is used as a test endpoint. The value of serum copper concentration as a diagnostic indicator depends on prevalence of copper deficiency. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:756–760)