Influence of age, sex, and production class on liver zinc concentration in calves

Birgit Puschner, Young Ku Choi, John H. Tegzes, Mark Thurmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Determination of zinc concentrations in the liver of calves and young stock is commonly requested by practitioners and nutritionists to assess whether they receive an appropriate amount of zinc in their diet. However, interpretation of liver zinc concentrations is currently based on information reported for adult cattle for which the health status was unknown and irrespective of production class, sex, and age. A retrospective study of necropsy reports was undertaken to assess the relationships between liver zinc concentrations and age, sex, and production class for calves that did not have a history compatible with zinc toxicosis or zinc deficiency. Results of a generalized least squares, polynomial regression analysis of 474 records found that zinc concentration was not affected by sex (P = 0.29) or production class (P = 0.50). Zinc concentration was significantly associated with linear (P < 0.00001) and nonlinear (quadratic, P = 0.0039) functions of age (r2 = 0.1503), where the concentration decreased from 93 mg/kg wet weight at 30 days of age to 57 mg/kg wet weight at 9 months of age, after which it began to increase. The age-specific 95% confidence limits of the mean concentration for a group of calves and the 95% prediction limits of a single concentration value for an individual animal estimated in this study suggest reconsideration of the recommended limits for liver zinc concentration in calves. As a consequence of the significant influence of age on liver zinc concentration of calves presumably not experiencing zinc toxicosis or deficiency, diagnosis of zinc imbalances based on liver zinc concentration needs to consider age as a diagnostic covariate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-282
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of age, sex, and production class on liver zinc concentration in calves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this