Supplementing an immunomodulatory feed ingredient to modulate thermoregulation, physiologic, and production responses in lactating dairy cows under heat stress conditions
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This study compared vaginal temperature, physiologic, and productive parameters in lactating dairy cows supplemented or not with Omnigen-AF (Phibro Animal Health, Teaneck, NJ) during the summer months in a tropical environment. Thirty-two lactating, primiparous (n = 16) and multiparous (n = 16) pregnant Holstein × Gir cows were ranked by parity, days in milk, body weight, and body condition score (BCS), and assigned to receive (SUPP; n = 16) or not (CON; n = 16) Omnigen-AF (Phibro Animal Health, Teaneck, NJ) at 56 g/cow daily (as-fed basis). During the experimental period (d -6 to 56), cows were maintained in a single drylot pen with ad libitum access to water and a total mixed ration, and milked twice daily. Cows received Omnigen-AF mixed with 200 g of corn (as-fed basis) after the daily morning milking through self-locking head gates, whereas CON cows concurrently received 56 g of kaolin mixed with 200 g of corn. For feed intake evaluation, cows from both treatments were randomly divided in 4 groups of 8 cows each, and allocated to 8 individual feeding stations for 3 d. Intake was evaluated 4 times per group from d 1 to 56. From d -6 to 0, d 15 to 28, and d 43 to 56, cow vaginal temperature was recorded hourly. Environmental temperature-humidity index (THI) was also recorded hourly from d 15 to 28 and d 43 to 56. Cows were evaluated for body weight and BCS on d -6 and 56, individual milk production was recorded daily from d -6 to 56, and milk samples were collected on d -6, 0, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, and 56 for analyses of somatic cell count and milk components. Blood samples were collected on d -6, -3, 0, 9, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 36, 45, 48, 51, 54, and 56. Results from samples or observations collected from d -6 to 0 were included as an independent covariate in each respective analysis. Environmental THI was 74.2 ± 0.5 and cows were exposed to THI >68 for 633 h within a total of 672 h of evaluation. Cows assigned to CON had greater vaginal temperature on d 28, 43, 45, and from d 48 to 55 (by 0.38 to 0.52%), as well as greater mean somatic cell count (by 97%) and serum haptoglobin concentrations (by 89%) compared with SUPP cows. Cows assigned to SUPP had greater mean dry matter intake (by 7%), BCS on d 56 (by 11%), and mean serum insulin concentrations (by 35%) compared with CON cows. Hence, SUPP ameliorated hyperthermia, improved nutritional status, and modulated systemic and mammary gland immune parameters in lactating dairy cows exposed to heat stress conditions.
author list (cited authors)
Leiva, T., Cooke, R. F., Brandão, A. P., Schubach, K. M., Batista, L., Miranda, M. F., ... Vasconcelos, J.