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Arrival cortisol measurement in veal calves and its association with body weight, protein fractions, animal health and performance

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Abstract
Male dairy calves are exposed to an accumulation of transport, social and environmental stressors while transferred to fattening units. As a consequence, calves show high cortisol concentrations upon arrival at the veal facility. Whether cortisol levels as measured on arrival can be associated with animal health, welfare and production results is currently unknown. The first objective of this prospective cohort study was to determine possible associations of arrival serum cortisol concentration with health and production variables of veal calves and other arrival predictors like body weight and gamma-globulin concentration. The second aim was to investigate potential clustering of arrival risk factors in veal calves for developing bovine respiratory disease (BRD) based on arrival body weight, serum cortisol concentration, total protein and protein fractions. In total, 105 male Holstein calves from two consecutive production cycles in a single, commercial white veal farm were blood sampled directly at arrival on the farm to determine serum cortisol, total protein and protein fractions. All calves were weighed the day after arrival and clinical signs, average daily weight gain (ADG) and carcass weight were collected. Also, all calves of both production cohorts were repeatedly examined by thoracic ultrasonography at the onset of group respiratory disease symptoms (2 3 weeks after arrival) and four weeks later. Linear and logistic mixed models together with k-means clustering were used for statistical analyses. Calves showed on average high, but individually variable serum cortisol concentrations (mean value = 96.6 ng/mL +/- standard deviation (SD) = 48.8; Range (R) = 50.0-317 ng/mL). Arrival cortisol, body weight and gamma-globulin content were not significantly associated. Serum cortisol and albumin concentrations at arrival were associated with chronic, unresponsive pneumonia. For each increase of serum cortisol concentration by 10 ng/mL, the odds for lung consolidation of >= 1 cm in depth at the second ultrasonography increased, odds ratio (OR) = 1.03 (95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-1.06; P < 0.050). For every decrease in serum albumin concentration by 1g/L, the OR for developing pneumonia was 1.23 (95 % CI= 1.04-1.46; P < 0.015). Additionally, two clusters of calves were identified based upon arrival status: a low risk cluster with below average stress-induced cortisol values, above average body weight, no acute phase response (APR) and no failure of passive immune transfer (FPIT), and a high risk cluster with above average cortisol values, below average body weight, APR and FPIT. High risk calves had higher odds for developing clinical BRD (OR= 3.88 (95 % CI=1.20 12.53; P < 0.020)) and lung consolidation >= 1 cm in depth at week 6 7 after arrival (OR= 3.93 (95 % CI=1.34 11.53; P < 0.013)). Avoiding high cortisol levels upon arrival of calves is important for animal welfare, but also for reduction of the prevalence of chronic, unresponsive pneumonia and the associated need for (repeated) antimicrobial treatment and production losses.
Keywords
animal welfare, respiratory disease, calves, Stress, Albumin, Gamma-globulin, Pneumonia, Welfare, Acute phase reaction, Failure of passive immune transfer

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MLA
Masmeijer, Christina, et al. “Arrival Cortisol Measurement in Veal Calves and Its Association with Body Weight, Protein Fractions, Animal Health and Performance.” PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE, vol. 187, 2021, doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105251.
APA
Masmeijer, C., Deprez, P., van Leenen, K., De Cremer, L., Cox, E., Devriendt, B., & Pardon, B. (2021). Arrival cortisol measurement in veal calves and its association with body weight, protein fractions, animal health and performance. PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE, 187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105251
Chicago author-date
Masmeijer, Christina, Piet Deprez, Katharina van Leenen, Lieze De Cremer, Eric Cox, Bert Devriendt, and Bart Pardon. 2021. “Arrival Cortisol Measurement in Veal Calves and Its Association with Body Weight, Protein Fractions, Animal Health and Performance.” PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE 187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105251.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Masmeijer, Christina, Piet Deprez, Katharina van Leenen, Lieze De Cremer, Eric Cox, Bert Devriendt, and Bart Pardon. 2021. “Arrival Cortisol Measurement in Veal Calves and Its Association with Body Weight, Protein Fractions, Animal Health and Performance.” PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE 187. doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105251.
Vancouver
1.
Masmeijer C, Deprez P, van Leenen K, De Cremer L, Cox E, Devriendt B, et al. Arrival cortisol measurement in veal calves and its association with body weight, protein fractions, animal health and performance. PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE. 2021;187.
IEEE
[1]
C. Masmeijer et al., “Arrival cortisol measurement in veal calves and its association with body weight, protein fractions, animal health and performance,” PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE, vol. 187, 2021.
@article{8686972,
  abstract     = {{Male dairy calves are exposed to an accumulation of transport, social and environmental stressors while transferred to fattening units. As a consequence, calves show high cortisol concentrations upon arrival at the veal facility. Whether cortisol levels as measured on arrival can be associated with animal health, welfare and production results is currently unknown.

The first objective of this prospective cohort study was to determine possible associations of arrival serum cortisol concentration with health and production variables of veal calves and other arrival predictors like body weight and gamma-globulin concentration. The second aim was to investigate potential clustering of arrival risk factors in veal calves for developing bovine respiratory disease (BRD) based on arrival body weight, serum cortisol concentration, total protein and protein fractions. In total, 105 male Holstein calves from two consecutive production cycles in a single, commercial white veal farm were blood sampled directly at arrival on the farm to determine serum cortisol, total protein and protein fractions. All calves were weighed the day after arrival and clinical signs, average daily weight gain (ADG) and carcass weight were collected. Also, all calves of both production cohorts were repeatedly examined by thoracic ultrasonography at the onset of group respiratory disease symptoms (2 3 weeks after arrival) and four weeks later. Linear and logistic mixed models together with k-means clustering were used for statistical analyses.

Calves showed on average high, but individually variable serum cortisol concentrations (mean value = 96.6 ng/mL +/- standard deviation (SD) = 48.8; Range (R) = 50.0-317 ng/mL). Arrival cortisol, body weight and gamma-globulin content were not significantly associated. Serum cortisol and albumin concentrations at arrival were associated with chronic, unresponsive pneumonia. For each increase of serum cortisol concentration by 10 ng/mL, the odds for lung consolidation of >= 1 cm in depth at the second ultrasonography increased, odds ratio (OR) = 1.03 (95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-1.06; P < 0.050). For every decrease in serum albumin concentration by 1g/L, the OR for developing pneumonia was 1.23 (95 % CI= 1.04-1.46; P < 0.015). Additionally, two clusters of calves were identified based upon arrival status: a low risk cluster with below average stress-induced cortisol values, above average body weight, no acute phase response (APR) and no failure of passive immune transfer (FPIT), and a high risk cluster with above average cortisol values, below average body weight, APR and FPIT. High risk calves had higher odds for developing clinical BRD (OR= 3.88 (95 % CI=1.20 12.53; P < 0.020)) and lung consolidation >= 1 cm in depth at week 6 7 after arrival (OR= 3.93 (95 % CI=1.34 11.53; P < 0.013)).

Avoiding high cortisol levels upon arrival of calves is important for animal welfare, but also for reduction of the prevalence of chronic, unresponsive pneumonia and the associated need for (repeated) antimicrobial treatment and production losses.}},
  articleno    = {{105251}},
  author       = {{Masmeijer, Christina and Deprez, Piet and van Leenen, Katharina and De Cremer, Lieze and Cox, Eric and Devriendt, Bert and Pardon, Bart}},
  issn         = {{0167-5877}},
  journal      = {{PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE}},
  keywords     = {{animal welfare,respiratory disease,calves,Stress,Albumin,Gamma-globulin,Pneumonia,Welfare,Acute phase reaction,Failure of passive immune transfer}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{10}},
  title        = {{Arrival cortisol measurement in veal calves and its association with body weight, protein fractions, animal health and performance}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105251}},
  volume       = {{187}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}

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