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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


SANCHEZ, Jorge Ml  and  SABORIO-MONTERO, Alejandro. Hypocalcemia and hipomagnesemia in a Holstein, Jersey and Guernsey grazing herd. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2014, vol.38, n.2, pp.55-65. ISSN 0377-9424.

The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia in a Holstein, Jersey and Guernsey cow herd at parturition, under the same feeding, management and environmental conditions. It was conducted in a farm located in Cartago, Costa Rica, and comprised 152 cows (62 Jersey, 41 Guernsey and 49 Holstein). During the close up period the cows grazed kikuyu grass (Kikuyuocloa clandestina) (0.35 Ca, 0.31 Mg and 3.50% K, DM) and were supplemented with 4 kg.animal-1.d-1 of a concentrate feed low in Ca (0.22 Ca; 0.42 Mg and 1.38% K, DM) plus 1 kg of hay (0.4 Ca; 0.35 Mg and 1.85% K, DM).d-1. Cows were fed 1 kg of concentrate (0.9 Ca; 0.42 Mg and 1.38% K, DM)/ 2.5 to 3.0 kg of milk during lactation. Blood samples were taken from the coccygeal vessels at peripartum (calving±1d) and analyzed for Ca and Mg. The blood thresholds to classify cows as clinically or sub clinically hypocalcemic were: less than 5.5 and 5.5 to 8.0 mg.dl-1 of Ca, respectively. A value of 1.8 mg.dl-1 of Mg, or lower, was set to classify cows as hypomagnesemic. Although no significant differences (p≥0.05) were found among breeds for plasma Ca content at parturition, Jersey cows tend to have a lower content of this mineral, specially as parity number increases. Hipomagnesemia prevalence differed (p<0.05) between Jersey and Guernsey breeds. The low prevalence of this metabolic imbalance suggest that the clinical and subclinical hipocalcemia cases observed in this study due to biological aspects proper to Ca homeostasis and are not linked to Ca homeostatic mechanisms in which Mg participates.

Keywords : Dairy cows; hypocalcemia; hypomagnesemia; grazing cows.

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