Low potassium diets with different levels of calcium in comparison with different anionic diets fed to prepartum dairy cows : effects on sorting behaviour, total tract digestibility, energy metabolism, oxidative status and hormonal response
This study investigated the effects of low potassium diets with different levels of Ca compared to two diets low in dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) fed prepartum as a strategy to prevent hypocalcemia on sorting behaviour, total tract digestibility, oxidative status and energy and protein metabolism of transition cows. Forty-eight pregnant dairy cows were assigned to 4 treatment groups: Low Ca, low K (LCLK), High Ca, low K (HCLK), Supplementation with anionic mineral mixture (AMS) supplementation with SoyChlor (CAS). After parturition, all animals were fed a standard postpartum diet. Data were collected until 21 DIM. Prepartum urinary pH was significantly reduced by the low DCAD diets, while postpartum Ca homeostasis was affected by the HCLK ration. Feeding AMS induced sorting against particles <1.18 mm in favour of particles >19 mm prepartum. In contrast, cows fed CAS showed an increase in selective consumption of fine particles and sorted against longer particles similar to the HCLK and LCLK groups. Postpartum sorting activity was not affected by the dietary treatments. After calving, apparent digestibility of NDF was significantly reduced in the HCLK group. Prepartum, we observed effects on serum concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids were higher and insulin sensitivity was lower in the AMS group. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) was decreased in cows fed the CAS ration. Postpartum, we found serum protein to be decreased with the low DCAD diets while BUN was decreased in the CAS group. The low DCAD rations increased prepartum serum malondialdehyde concentrations, while postpartum total antioxidant capacity was lower in the HCLK and the AMS group. From these data, we conclude that AMS decreased prepartum intake due to compromised palatability. Intermediate protein metabolism was affected by the low DCAD diets, while parameters of oxidative stress were probably affected by acid-base balance and Ca homeostasis.