Plane of nutrition by tick-burden interaction in cattle: effect on growth and metabolism.
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Ticks are external parasites, which pose a significant economic burden to domestic animal agriculture. The effects of ticks on grazing animals may be exacerbated during periods of low nutrition, such as those encountered during drought. It is not completely understood how plane of nutrition and tick burden interact to affect metabolism in cattle. The objective of the current research was to examine the plane of nutrition by tick-burden interaction in cattle and determine the effects of this interaction on physiological indicators of growth and metabolism. Eight-month-old Angus cross steers (n = 28, 194 3.0 kg) were stratified by pretrial BW and DMI into 1 of 4 groups (n = 7/group) in a 2 2 factorial arrangement. Categories were: moderate (14.0 1.0% CP, 60 1.5% TDN) vs. low (9.0 1.0% CP, 58 1.5% TDN) plane of nutrition and control (no tick) vs. tick treatment (300 pair of adult Amblyomma americanum per treated animal). Steers were individually fed their respective experimental diets ad libitum and feed intake was monitored for 35 d before and 21 d after the start of tick infestation (d 0). Blood samples were harvested via coccygeal venipuncture on d -7, 0, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, and 21. Plasma cortisol and IGF-I were determined by RIA. Metabolic indicators were determined by colorimetric assay. Steers weighed 195 6 kg on d -35, but on d -7 and d 21, the moderate steers weighed more than the low steers (244.1 8.7 vs. 227.7 8.4 kg, P < 0.07; and 283.4 8.0 vs. 244.0 7.9 kg, P < 0.001, respectively). Cortisol was affected by plane of nutrition and treatment (P < 0.08). Insulin-like growth factor-I was greater (P < 0.01) in moderate than in low and control animals (P < 0.02), compared with tick-treated animals. Tick treatment had no effect (P > 0.05) on any of the metabolites measured in this study. Plane of nutrition affected (P < 0.02) albumin, blood urea nitrogen, and glucose in that values from the moderate group animals were greater than those from the low group. Although cortisol was related to both tick treatment and nutritional status in the current study, with respect to the combination of parasitism and suboptimal nutrition, IGF-I was the most highly indicative constituent measured. Tick burden affected various characteristics of growth and metabolism in these growing cattle and the effects were exacerbated by a low plane of nutrition.