Effect of prophylactic oral calcium supplementation on postpartum mineral status and markers of energy balance of multiparous Jersey cows

A. Valldecabres, J. A.A. Pires, Noelia Silva Del Rio

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7 Scopus citations


The effects of prophylactic oral Ca supplementation on blood mineral status and markers of energy balance were evaluated on 205 multiparous Jersey cows at a commercial dairy. Postpartum, cows were systematically assigned to control (n = 105) or oral Ca supplementation (CaOS; 50 to 60 g of Ca as boluses; n = 100) at 0 and 1 d in milk (DIM). Blood samples for analysis of serum minerals (Ca, P, Mg, K, Na, Fe, Zn, and Cu) were collected before and 1 h after treatment at 0 and 1 DIM, and at 2 DIM. Urine pH was measured immediately before and 1 h after treatment administration (n = 96). A subset of 74 cows was evaluated for plasma glucose and fatty acid concentrations at 0, 1, and 2 DIM. Cows were classified according to their initial calcemic status (Ca status) as normocalcemic (NC; serum Ca >2.12 mmol/L) or subclinically hypocalcemic (SCH; serum Ca ≤2.12 mmol/L). Average serum Ca concentration was higher in CaOS than control cows (2.12 vs. 2.06 mmol/L); this treatment effect was higher for SCH [CaOS (2.03 mmol/L); control (1.89 mmol/L)] than NC cows [CaOS (2.22 mmol/L); control (2.22 mmol/L)]. The incidence of subclinical hypocalcemia was lower for CaOS than control cows (53 vs. 65%); however, at 2 DIM the prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia tended to be higher for CaOS cows, mostly because it was higher for CaOS-NC than control-NC cows (70 vs. 25%). Urine pH was lower for CaOS than control cows (6.10 vs. 7.04). Lower serum Mg concentration was detected for CaOS-SCH (1.06 mmol/L) than for control-SCH (1.10 mmol/L) cows. Cows in the CaOS group had higher serum K (4.68 vs. 4.53 mmol/L), lower plasma glucose (2.97 vs. 3.10 mmol/L), and at 2 DIM higher plasma fatty acid concentrations (0.43 vs. 0.35 mmol/L) than control cows. Our results showed that postpartum serum Ca concentration increases with oral Ca supplementation, but calcemic status influenced treatment response. Future studies should evaluate the long-term implications on production and reproduction of oral Ca supplementation in Jersey cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4460-4472
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018



  • dairy cow
  • oral calcium supplementation
  • subclinical hypocalcemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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