Effects of monensin and essential oils on immunological, haematological and biochemical parameters of cows during the transition period
Using a model to generate experimental groups with different manifestations of post-partum (p.p.) fat mobilization and ketogenesis, the effects of a dietary and a medical intervention on biochemical and haematological parameters, antibody titre, leucocytes subsets and function of transition cows were examined. In total, 60 German Holstein cows were allocated 6 weeks antepartum (a.p.) to 3 high-body condition score (BCS) groups (BCS 3.95) and 1 low-BCS group (LC, BCS 2.77). High-BCS cows received a monensin controlled-release capsule (HC/MO) or a blend of essential oils (HC/EO) or formed a control group (HC). Parameters were evaluated in 3 periods (day (d) −42 until calving, 1 until 14 days in milk (DIM), 15 until 56 DIM). Over the course of trial, various parameters were influenced by period with greatest variability next to calving. White blood cell count was higher in the HC (8.42 × 103/μl) and HC/EO (8.38 × 103/μl) groups than in the HC/MO group (6.81 × 103/μl) considering the whole trial. Supplementation of monensin decreased aspartate aminotransferase in comparison with the HC group similar to LC treatment. Bilirubin concentration was nearly doubled in all high-BCS cows in period 2. In period 3, essential oils increased γ-glutamyltransferase (80.4 Units/l) in comparison with all other groups and glutamine dehydrogenase (61 Units/l) in comparison with the LC (19 Units/l) and the HC/MO group (18 Units/l). Results suggest that parameters were generally characterized by a high variability around calving. Based on biochemical characteristics, it appeared that the HC cows seemed to have compromised hepatocyte integrity when compared to the LC cows. From the immune parameters investigated, the BVDV antibody response was more pronounced in HC/MO compared to HC/EO.
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