Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science (Animal, Dairy, and Poultry Sciences)

Document Type



Forty-one (10 primiparous and 31 multiparous) Holstein cows were used in an experiment to determine the effects of prepartum dietary energy (PDE) and supplemental Ca-propionate on the incidence of ketosis in transition dairy cows and to evaluate the usefulness of urine pH as a predictor for ketosis. Treatment factors were prepartum dietary energy concentration (normal vs. high) with or without 113.5g Ca-Propionate/day (Nutro Cal®, Kemin Industries, Inc., Des Moines, IA). All cows were fed the same basal diet postpartum. Ca-propionate supplementation continued postpartum. Cows were individually fed and dry matter intakes (DMI) were measured daily. Milk production was measured and sampled at each milking for 3 weeks postpartum and analyzed for % fat, % protein, and SCC (somatic cell count). Blood samples were collected prior to the afternoon milking 3x/ wk and analyzed for β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) and glucose concentrations. Urine was collected 3x/ wk and analyzed for pH, acetoacetate, and BHBA. Treatment did not affect mean DMI, milk yield, milk component production or percentage, 4% FCM, SCCS, BWT, urine pH, urine acetoacetate, urine BHBA, plasma BHBA, or plasma glucose. There was a statistical interaction of Ca-propionate supplementation and week for urine pH and BHBA. Correlation coefficients between urine BHBA, urine pH, and urine acetoacetate were not useful for prediction of ketosis across all cows. However, they were numerically higher when restricted to data from an individual cow. Correlation coefficients between BHBA and acetoacetate concentrations in urine were significant. These data suggest that PDE and Ca-propionate supplementation had no effect on the incidence of ketosis, however Ca-propionate supplementation allowed cows to recover faster from ketosis postpartum. The use of urine pH was not a useful tool for the prediction of ketosis across a herd, but may be a useful indicator of ketosis when compared within an individual animal. Due to factors unrelated to treatment diets, there was a high incidence of health disorders such as retained fetal membranes, metritis, displaced abomasums, and laminitis were observed during this trial that probably affected any observed treatment responses.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

H. Gale Bateman