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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and glucose concentrations measured with a dual-purpose point-of-care (POC) meter designed for use in humans and a laboratory biochemical analyzer (LBA) to determine whether the POC meter would be reliable for on-farm measurement of blood glucose and BHB concentrations in sheep in various environmental conditions and nutritional states.

Animals—36 pregnant mixed-breed ewes involved in a maternal feed restriction study.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from each sheep at multiple points throughout gestation and lactation to allow for tracking of gradually increasing metabolic hardship. Whole blood glucose and BHB concentrations were measured with the POC meter and compared with serum results obtained with an LBA.

Results—464 samples were collected. Whole blood BHB concentrations measured with the POC meter compared well with LBA results, and error grid analysis showed the POC values were acceptable. Whole blood glucose concentrations measured with the POC meter had more variation, compared with LBA values, over the glucose ranges evaluated. Results of error grid analysis of POC-measured glucose concentrations were not acceptable, indicating errors likely to result in needless treatment with glucose or other supplemental energy sources in normoglycemic sheep.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The POC meter was user-friendly and performed well across a wide range of conditions. The meter was adequate for detection of pregnancy toxemia in sheep via whole blood BHB concentration. Results should be interpreted with caution when the POC meter is used to measure blood glucose concentrations.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To determine gross income lost that was attributable to thin cows in a beef cattle herd, to estimate the cost of added nutrition necessary to prevent thin cows in the herd, and to determine the financial outcome of the improved nutritional practices.


Prospective, observational study.


Four hundred twenty-two Santa Gertrudis cows and their calves.


At pregnancy examination in the fall of 1992, cows were assigned a body condition score (BCS), using a scale of 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese), and the ratio of the productivity of BCS-3 and BCS-4 cow groups (thin cows), compared with the mean productivity of BCS-5 and BCS-6 cows (cows in good condition), was determined. Measures of productivity evaluated included pregnancy rates, weaning weights, and prices per hundredweight of calves. The performance ratios of BCS-3 and BCS-4 cows were multiplied by the mean gross income of BCS-5 and BCS-6 cows to calculate their gross income. This was then subtracted from the mean income of BCS-5 and BCS-6 cows to estimate the amount of lost gross income per thin cow. The cost of a nutritional program that would prevent thin cows in the herd was subtracted from the lost gross income of the thin cows to yield the amount of increased net income that could be generated from a nutritional program that would maintain cows in the herd at a BCS of 5 or 6.


Cows with a BCS of 3 were 0.48 as productive, and cows with a BCS of 4 were 0.74 as productive as the average of the BCS-5 and BCS-6 cows combined. Each BCS-3 cow generated $215.06 less, and each BCS-4 cow generated $107.53 less gross income than the average gross income of BCS-5 and BCS-6 cows. The added cost of nutrition that would have reconditioned BCS-3 and BCS-4 cows to a BCS of 5.5 was $91.48/BCS-3 cow and $43.67/ BCS-4 cow. Implementation of the reconditioning nutrition program the previous fall would have resulted in an extra net income of $123.58/BCS-3 cow and $63.86/BCS-4 cow, received over a 2-year period. The 262 thin cows in the herd accounted for a total net income loss of $19,897.

Clinical Implications—

The time of pregnancy examination is a strategic intervention point to estimate the past negative economic impact of thin cows and to implement a plan to prevent these losses in the future.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association