Acta Vet. Brno 2014, 83: 411-416

Ketone bodies in blood of dairy cows: Prevalence and monitoring of subclinical ketosis

Marek Krempaský, Iveta Maskaľová, Lukáš Bujňák, Vladimír Vajda

University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Animal Breeding, Košice, Slovak Republic

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between concentration of non-esterified fatty acid and ketone bodies in blood of dairy cows, and to evaluate these concentrations for the detection of prevalence of subclinical ketosis. The second aim was to compare the concentration of β-hydroxybutyric acid determined by an electronic handheld meter Precision Xtra® with serum concentration of β-hydroxybutyric acid analysed in laboratory with izotachometric and photometric method, respectively. Blood samples were collected from jugular vein 4–6 h after morning feeding in three groups of Holstein cows (n = 909) according to the lactation phase from 51 different herds with similar husbandry characteristics. High lipomobilization (non-esterified fatty acid ≥ 0.35 mmol·l-1, mean concentration 0.34 ± 0.15 mmol·l-1) was detected in 30.3% of antepartum cows, while increased concentrations of β-hydroxybutyric acid (≥ 1.0 mmol·l-1, prevalence of subclinical ketosis) were detected in 18.5% and 14.1% of the early lactation and mid lactation cows, respectively. The correlation coefficient (r = 0.84, P < 0.001; r = 0.93, P < 0.001) was found between measurements of whole blood β-hydroxybutyric acid of 60 and 38 dairy cows determined with the Precision Xtra® test and plasma or serum β-hydroxybutyric acid concentration determined by isotachophoresis and photometrical method, respectively. Our results show that the monitoring of changes in the blood concentration of β-hydroxybutyric acid in high-yielding cows in the early postpartum period by the electronic handheld meter Precision Xtra® may be effective in reducing the incidence of ketosis and health problems associated with ketosis in dairy cattle herds.


18 live references