Objective—To compare plasma total calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), beta hydroxy butyrate (BHB), and glucose concentrations in parturient dairy cows that were fed an anionic prepartum diet between those with and without retained fetal membranes (RFM) at 24 hours after parturition.
Animals—152 Holstein cows that calved during October through December of 1997.
Procedure—All cows were fed an anionic prepartum diet. Blood sample was taken within 6 hours after parturition from randomly selected cows. Thirty-nine cows had a diagnosis of RFM at 24 hours after parturition; 113 were not affected with RFM. At calving, body condition score (BCS; 1 [thin] to 5 [obese]), parity, and calving difficulty score were recorded. Plasma calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, NEFA, BHB, and glucose concentrations were compared between cows with or without RFM.
Results—Cows with RFM had significantly lower plasma calcium concentration soon after calving, compared with cows without RFM. Cows with a parity of ≥ 3 had significantly lower plasma concentrations of calcium and higher concentrations of magnesium, compared with cows with a parity of 1 or 2. Cows with a BCS of ≥ 3.25 at calving had significantly higher plasma concentrations of BHB than cows with a BCS of 2.75 to 3.0. Cows with dystocia had significantly higher plasma concentrations of glucose, compared with cows without dystocia.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In parturient cows fed a prepartum anionic diet, those with RFM have lower plasma calcium concentrations than cows without RFM, although this association does not prove a cause-effect relationship. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1071–1076)