Effects of restricted dietary phosphorus supply to dry cows on periparturient calcium status
Restricted dietary P supply to transition dairy cows has recently been reported to beneficially affect the Ca balance of periparturient cows. The objective of the present study was to determine whether this effect on the Ca balance can be reproduced when limiting the P-restricted feeding to the last 4 wk of gestation. A total of 30 dairy cows in late pregnancy were randomly assigned to a dry cow diet with either low or adequate P content (0.16 and 0.30% P in DM, respectively) to be fed in the 4 wk before expected calving. After calving, all cows received the same lactating cow ration with adequate P content (0.46% P in DM). Blood was collected daily from 4 d antepartum until calving, at calving (d 0), 6 and 12 h after calving (d +0.25 and d +0.5, respectively) and on days +1, +2, +3, +4 and +7 relative to calving. Blood gas analyses were conducted to determine the concentration of ionized Ca in whole blood ([Ca2+]), and plasma was assayed for concentrations of inorganic phosphorus ([Pi]), total calcium, parathyroid hormone ([PTH]), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D ([1,25-(OH)2D3]), and CrossLaps ([CTX]), a biomarker for bone resorption (Immunodiagnostic Systems GmbH). Repeated-measures ANOVA was conducted to study treatment, time, and lactation number effects. The mean [Ca2+] in P-deprived cows remained above the threshold of 1.10 mmol/L throughout the study, and values were higher compared with cows on adequate P supply between d 0 and d +2 and on d +4. The [Ca2+] differed between treatments at the sampling times d 0, d +0.25, d +0.5, d +2, and d +4. Plasma [PTH] and [1,25-(OH)2D3] did not differ between treatments, but P-deprived cows had greater [CTX] than cows with adequate P supply at d +1, d +2, and d +7. These results indicate that restricted dietary P supply to during the last 4 wk of the dry period improves the Ca homeostasis of these cows in the first days of lactation, an effect that seems to be primarily driven by increased bone tissue mobilization.