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Evaluation of a handheld device for measurement of β-hydroxybutyrate concentration to identify prepartum dairy cattle at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia

Elise H. TatoneDepartment of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Jessica L. GordonDepartment of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Stephen J. LeBlancDepartment of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Todd F. DuffieldDepartment of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of a handheld device for measurement of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration to identify prepartum dairy cattle at risk of developing hyperketonemia during the first week after parturition.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—210 prepartum dairy cows from 6 herds.

Procedures—A blood sample was collected from each cow 3 to 9 days before its expected calving date. β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration was immediately measured with a handheld device. Serum was harvested from the remaining sample and submitted to a laboratory for measurement of BHBA and nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations. β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration determined with the handheld device was compared with that determined by laboratory methods. The association between prepartum BHBA concentration and the development of hyperketonemia (BHBA concentration, ≥ 1.2 mmol/L) during the first week after parturition was determined. The agreement between prepartum BHBA and NEFA concentrations for identification of cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia was evaluated.

Results—β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration determined by the handheld device was moderately correlated with that determined by laboratory methods. Cows with a prepartum BHBA concentration ≥ 0.6 mmol/L were 2.2 times as likely to develop hyperketonemia within 1 week after parturition as were cows with a prepartum BHBA concentration < 0.6 mmol/L. There was substantial agreement between prepartum BHBA and NEFA concentrations for identification of cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated the handheld device was a valid tool for measurement of BHBA concentration in prepartum dairy cattle, and measurement of prepartum BHBA concentration may be helpful for identifying cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of a handheld device for measurement of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration to identify prepartum dairy cattle at risk of developing hyperketonemia during the first week after parturition.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—210 prepartum dairy cows from 6 herds.

Procedures—A blood sample was collected from each cow 3 to 9 days before its expected calving date. β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration was immediately measured with a handheld device. Serum was harvested from the remaining sample and submitted to a laboratory for measurement of BHBA and nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations. β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration determined with the handheld device was compared with that determined by laboratory methods. The association between prepartum BHBA concentration and the development of hyperketonemia (BHBA concentration, ≥ 1.2 mmol/L) during the first week after parturition was determined. The agreement between prepartum BHBA and NEFA concentrations for identification of cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia was evaluated.

Results—β-Hydroxybutyrate concentration determined by the handheld device was moderately correlated with that determined by laboratory methods. Cows with a prepartum BHBA concentration ≥ 0.6 mmol/L were 2.2 times as likely to develop hyperketonemia within 1 week after parturition as were cows with a prepartum BHBA concentration < 0.6 mmol/L. There was substantial agreement between prepartum BHBA and NEFA concentrations for identification of cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated the handheld device was a valid tool for measurement of BHBA concentration in prepartum dairy cattle, and measurement of prepartum BHBA concentration may be helpful for identifying cows at risk of developing postpartum hyperketonemia.

Contributor Notes

Supported in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Doctoral Research Assistantship.

Address correspondence to Dr. Duffield (tduffiel@uoguelph.ca).