Prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia in dairy cows in the Sousa city micro-region, Paraíba state
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Subclinical hypocalcemia is a metabolic disorder characterised by a decrease in serum calcium (Ca) levels, with no clinical symptoms. The aim of this study was to determine the punctual prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia in dairy cows, in the Sousa city micro-region, Paraíba state. Samples were collected from 29 dairy farms, consisting of 153 and 296 blood samples in the pre- and postpartum period respectively. In relation to the mineral supplementation profile, 89.25% of the properties use a commercial supplement. On average, 40.53% of lactating cows presented total serum Ca levels under the lower limit of 8.0 mg/dL, with an exclusive supplement of NaCl resulting in a higher percentage of cows, 61.11%, with the condition of subclinical hypocalcemia. For ionized Ca, the average prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia was 21.16%. The prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia for total serum Ca was 37.25 and 42.23% of cows in the pre- and postpartum period respectively. The type of mineral supplement did not influence (P > .05) total and ionized serum Ca levels in lactating cows. There was no significant difference (P > .05) for total and ionized serum Ca levels as a function of the reproductive period in lactating cows. Subclinical hypocalcemia was evident in the dairy cows under evaluation and occurred with an average punctual prevalence of 40.34%. Commercial supplement is the most common form of mineral mixture used; however, it was not able to promote an increase in the levels of total and ionized serum Ca levels due to errors in managing the supply.
KeywordsDairy farming Metabolic disorder Mineral supplements Serum calcium Semiarid
Compliance with ethical standards
Statement of animal rights
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals in research activities, with an experimental protocol approved by the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals of the Federal University of Campina Grande, Patos city unity, Paraíba state, under protocol number 009/2016.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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