- Most cows undergo some level of hypocalcemia in the immediate postpartum period, with 40 to 70% of multiparous cows developing subclinical hypocalcemia (SCH; Reinhardt et al., 2011; Caixeta et al., 2015; Neves et al., 2017).
- Feeding prepartum rations low in Ca can improve Ca status postpartum (Kichura et al., 1982) but is difficult to achieve with commonly used feedstuffs in the US (Goff, 2006).
- In European studies, feeding zeolite A for the 2 weeks prior to calving has been shown to bind to dietary calcium and improve blood Ca status in the days following parturition (Thilsing et al., 2006; Pallesen et al., 2008). Effects of this feeding strategy in a 3 wk prefresh program have not been demonstrated.
- To determine the effect of feeding multiparous Holstein cows synthetic zeolite A for 3 wk prior to expected calving on peripartum serum mineral status.
Materials & Methods
- 55 multiparous Holstein cows (2nd lactation = 24, 3rd+ lactation = 31) were enrolled 28 d prior to expected calving and randomly assigned to 1 of 2 dietary treatments (trt) starting at 21 d prior to expected calving;
- Control (CON; n = 29) – 40% CS, 33% wheat straw, and 27% concentrate mix
- Experimental (EXP; n = 26) – CON diet with the addition of synthetic zeolite A (XZelit, Protekta Inc., Lucknow, Ontario, CA/Vilofoss, Graasten, DK) at 3.3% of DM, targeting 500 g/d as fed
- Blood was collected 1x/wk from enrollment until 7 d prior to expected calving, daily from 7 d prior to expected calving until 7 DIM, 3x/wk from wk 2-4, and 2 samples collected within 24 h of calving and a subset were analyzed for Ca, P, and Mg concentrations.
- Prepartum and postpartum data were analyzed separately. Data analyzed over time were subjected to repeated measures ANOVA using the MIXED procedure in SAS v.9.4, the REPEATED statement for time, and P values were corrected for multiple comparisons using Tukey HSD. Least squares means and standard errors are reported.
- Fixed effects were trt, time, parity (2nd vs. 3rd+), all 2-way interactions, and random effect was cow within trt.
- The difference in prevalence of SCH between trt x d was tested with Fisher’s exact test.
- Serum Ca concentrations were higher for cows fed EXP compared to CON during both prepartum and postpartum periods; differences were greatest during the immediate periparturient period.
- Serum P concentrations were lower for cows fed EXP compared to CON during both prepartum and postpartum periods; differences were greatest prepartum and during the immediate postpartum period.
- Serum Mg concentrations were lower for cows fed EXP compared to CON during the prepartum and immediate postpartum periods.
- The prevalence of SCH in cows fed EXP was lower than cows fed CON during the immediate periparturient period and cows fed EXP did not experience chronic SCH while 35% of CON fed cows were affected.
- Normal Ca concentrations (≥ 8.5 mg/dL) were maintained in 50% of EXP fed cows from 0 to 3 DIM compared to 3% of CON fed cows.
- Supplementing synthetic zeolite A for 3 wk before expected parturition resulted in improved Ca status around calving yet it is unclear as to the biological impact of reduced P and Mg concentrations around calving.
We would like to thank Protekta Inc. and Vilofoss for financial support of this project.
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Vilofoss presented the X-Zelit posters at the ADSA Meeting 2018