Plane of nutrition x tick burden interaction in cattle: effect on fecal composition. Academic Article uri icon


  • Effective tick management on grazing animals is facilitated by accurate noninvasive detection methods. Fecal analysis provides information about animal health and nutrition. Diet affects fecal composition; stress may do likewise. The constituents in feces that may be affected by tick burdens and in turn affect near-infrared spectra have not been reported. Our objective was to examine the interaction between plane of nutrition and tick burden on fecal composition in cattle. Angus cross steers (n = 28; 194 3.0 kg) were assigned to 1 of 4 treatments (n = 7 per group) in a 2 2 factorial arrangement: moderate (14.0 1.0% CP and 60 1.5% TDN) vs. low (9.0 1.0% CP and 58 1.5% TDN) plane of nutrition and control (no tick) vs. tick treatment [infestation of 300 pair of adult Lone Star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) per treated animal]. Fecal samples were collected at approximately 0700 h on d -7, 0, 7, 10, 14, 17, and 21 relative to tick infestation. Fecal constituents measured were DM, OM, pH, Lactobacillus spp., Escherchia coli, acetate, propionate, butyrate, isobutyrate, valerate, isovalerate, IgA, and cortisol. Experimental day affected (P < 0.05) all constituents measured. Plane of nutrition affected (P < 0.05) DM, OM, VFA, and IgA. Tick treatment numerically (P = 0.13) reduced cortisol. A multivariate stepwise selection model containing cortisol and E. coli values on d 10 and d 14 accounted for 33% of the variation in daily adult female tick feeding counts across both planes of nutrition (P < 0.07). Within the moderate plane of nutrition, a model containing only cortisol on d 10 and d 14 described 59% of the variation in the number of feeding ticks (P < 0.02). Similarly, a model including cortisol, propionate, isovalerate, and DM at d 10 and d 14 d described 95% of the variation in total feeding ticks in the low plane of nutrition. Of the constituents measured, fecal cortisol offers the best possibility of noninvasively assessing stress by way of a single assay but the presence of ticks would still need to be confirmed visually. Although several constituents measured in this study should exist in sufficient quantity to directly affect near-infrared spectra, none stood out as a clear descriptor of prior observed differences in fecal spectra between tick-treated versus non-tick-treated animals. There were, however, groups of fecal constituents related to daily adult female tick feeding numbers (as a visual estimation of tick stress).

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Tolleson, D. R., Prince, S. D., Banik, K. K., Welsh, T. H., Carstens, G. E., Strey, O. F., ... Longnecker, M. T.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Tolleson, DR||Prince, SD||Banik, KK||Welsh, TH||Carstens, GE||Strey, OF||Teel, PD||Willard, ST||Longnecker, MT

publication date

  • August 2013