Assessing the nutritional status of beef cattle: current practices and future prospects

Ndlovu T, Chimonyo M, I Okoh A, Muchenje V, Dzama K, Raats J G
2007 African Journal of Biotechnology  
Accurate determination of nutritional and health status of animals is invaluable in modern animal agriculture. Body weights and body condition scoring are the commonly used methods of assessing nutritional status of animals. This paper discusses drawbacks these methods have and highlights the benefits for using blood metabolites in assessing nutritional status of beef cattle. Blood metabolite levels indicate the extent of metabolism of energy, proteins and other nutrients in animals. Glucose,
more » ... olesterol, non-esterified fatty acids, protein, urea, creatinine, albumin, globulin, minerals, liver enzymes and haematology can be used objectively, reliably and routinely to assess the nutritional status of cattle. In Southern Africa, the use of these metabolites is rare due to lack of equipment for blood analysis and the high cost of analyzing the blood parameters. However, use of high value Nguni cattle in Southern Africa requires the use of blood parameters to accurately assess their nutritional status. Several factors, such as physiological status of an animal, breed, nutrition, season and age affect levels of blood metabolites. Combining body weights, body condition scores and blood metabolites increase accuracy of assessing the nutritional state and welfare of beef cattle.
doi:10.5897/ajb2007.000-2436 fatcat:rcv2n4xqfve57g7nndp3r3qldu