Ruminant Nutrition News - 08/01/96

Use liver biopsy to check for your cow's trace mineral levels...

Dr. Ray Ansotegui and Connie Swenson, of Montana State University, in a trial measuring the effects of supplementing Cu, Zn, Mn and Co with organic and inorganic sources in the presence of antagonists Mo, Fe, and S found an interesting lack of correlation between blood serum and liver levels of these minerals. Ray tells me that biopsy of liver tissue with a Baxter True Cut 14ga x 6" needle is a snap. He's done as many as 150 cows or calves in a day. Using this method, biopsy of the liver can be done by anyone and is a true reading of the mineral status of your animals. Selenium should still be done using standard blood analysis. .... The study, by the way, showed higher liver levels of all trace minerals using organic forms, however the levels using inorganic supplements were more than adequate, thus much less costly. Additionally the cows with the organic forms of Zn showed less ovulation than those being supplemented with inorganic sources.

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Liver abscesses may be reduced by vaccination for leukotoxoid...

Dr. T.G. Nagaraja, of Kansas State University and his coworkers are successfully working on an vaccine for the toxin produced by Fusobacterium necrophorum, the primary bacteria that causes liver abscesses in feedlot cattle. Acidosis is the primary reason for the ruminitis that allows bacteria to enter the blood stream. Fusobacterium necrophorum is trapped by the liver, begins creating it's own toxin which destroys liver tissue and consequently forms an abscess. The vaccine has proven to reduce liver abscesses by as much as 80%. It may also be helpful in the prevention of footrot.

Papers presented at the Western Sectional Meeting of the American Society of Animal Science...

showed a negative effect on first service conception rate when flushing with wheat mill run. The results, presented by Kansas State University researcher B.L.Miller were quite unexpected. Heifers were fed up to five pounds of wheat mill run 30 days before breeding. The cows fed WMR did not conceive as well (17% vs 63% for controls) on first service than those cows being fed no grain. Pregnancy rate was similar after first service. The researchers were at a loss to explain the results but there may have been such a devastating effect on fiber digestion by feeding grain that the net energy utilized was actually reduced. We have known for years that feeding small amounts (1-3 pounds) of cereal (barley or wheat) grain to wintering cows results in a weight loss because of poor fiber digestion. These studies may indicate the same may hold true for flushing.