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.
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.