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Association of preweaning and weaning serum cortisol and metabolites with ADG and incidence of respiratory disease in beef cattle

A. P. Foote, S. A. Jones, L. A. Kuehn
Journal of animal science 2017 v.95 no.11 pp. 5012-5019
beef cattle, blood glucose, blood sampling, blood serum, bovine respiratory disease, calves, carbohydrate metabolism, cortisol, feedlots, finishing, glucose, heifers, lactic acid, metabolites, milk, milk consumption, regression analysis, respiratory tract diseases, slaughter, steers, variance, weaning
The objectives of this experiment were to determine the association of circulating cortisol, lactate, and glucose early in life on ADG and incidences of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in cattle. A blood sample was collected approximately 3 wk prior to weaning and at weaning from genetically diverse steers and heifers (n = 451). Cattle were weighed periodically throughout the study and ADG was calculated for the preweaning period (152 +/- 15 d), the receiving period 45 d postweaning), the finishing period (200 d), and total postweaning ADG. Incidences of BRD were recorded and analyzed as a binary trait. Lung lesions were recorded at slaughter. Preweaning serum cortisol concentrations were positively associated (P = 0.040) with receiving ADG and explained 0.74% of the variance of receiving ADG. Preweaning glucose concentrations were positively associated (P < 0.001) with preweaning ADG and negatively associated with receiving (P = 0.003), finishing (P = 0.008), and total postweaning ADG (P = 0.002) and explained 2.0% of the variance in total postweaning ADG. Preweaning serum glucose concentrations could be indicative of variation in milk consumption, and therefore indicate calves receiving less milk grow slower prior to weaning, but experience compensatory gain postweaning. Cattle that were diagnosed with BRD (n = 130) grew slower during the receiving phase (P = 0.004), but total postweaning ADG was not different from cattle not diagnosed with BRD (P = 0.683). Additionally, cattle that were diagnosed with BRD in the feedlot tended to have slightly lower preweaning serum glucose concentrations (P = 0.062). Using a logistic regression analysis, none of the serum variables measured at or before weaning were predictive of developing BRD (P > 0.180). Weaning serum glucose concentrations tended to be predictive of the presence of lung lesions at weaning (P = 0.060). These data indicate that glucose measured early in life is associated with growth rate, and could indicate that carbohydrate metabolism could contribute to variation in ADG.