Effects of dietary betaine on body temperature indices, performance, metabolism, and hematological variables of dairy heifer calves during hot summer conditions.

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From: Veterinary World(Vol. 15, Issue 7)
Publisher: Veterinary World
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,464 words
Lexile Measure: 1390L

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Abstract :

Background and Aim: Heat stress (HS) can negatively impact farm animal productivity and adversely affect animal welfare worldwide, placing a major financial burden on global livestock producers. Dietary betaine (trimethylglycine) has been known to have several biological functions, which may aid in offering beneficial effects on livestock productivity during HS conditions. However, information on the role of dietary betaine in heat-stressed dairy heifer calves is yet to be documented. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the effects of supplementing dietary betaine on body temperature indices, blood metabolites, productive performance, and complete blood count (CBC) (hematological indices) in hyperthermic dairy heifer calves. Materials and Methods: In total, 14 Holstein heifer calves (4.0 [+ or -] 0.9 months old) were individually housed and randomly allocated to one of two dietary treatments: (1) a control diet (CON; n = 7) and (2) a control diet complemented with 21 g/d of natural betaine (BET; n = 7) top-dressed once daily. The experiment lasted for 28 d, during which all animals were subjected to natural cyclic HS conditions (26.1-39.2[degrees]C; 73.2-84.0 temperature-humidity index). Rectal temperature (RT) and respiration rate (RR) were measured twice daily (0700 and 1500 h), whereas dry matter intake (DMI) was measured once daily (0800 h). In addition, blood samples (collected from the jugular vein) were analyzed for metabolites and CBC on days 7, 14, 21, and 28. Results: Relative to CON, BET supplementation was able to decrease RT on day 23 of the experiment (p = 0.04). Alternatively, RR was similar between the dietary treatments (p = 0.73). Feeding BET did not affect DMI compared with CON during HS conditions (p = 0.48). Furthermore, compared with CON, BET supplementation did not change leukocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and hematocrit levels during HS conditions (p 0.17). However, a post hoc analysis indicated that hematocrit levels were decreased in BET-fed calves on day 7 of the study compared with CON calves during HS conditions (p = 0.05). Moreover, circulating glucose, albumin, and triglycerides were found to be similar between dietary treatments (p 0.55). Conclusion: BET supplementation slightly reduced RT and circulating hematocrit but did not affect other metrics in this HS experiment. More research into the effects of different doses of dietary BET on dairy heifer calves is needed. Keywords: betaine, dairy calves, heat stress.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A711449573