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Biochemical and Hematological Parameters and Body Condition Score of Holstein Cows Under Different Welfare Conditions

Dalibor Đud, Vesna Gantner, Mislav Đidara, Martina Pavlić, Marcela Šperanda scientific paper)


Animal welfare (AW) is a term denoting how the animals are coping with the conditions in which they live. A precise welfare assessment assumes a multidisciplinary approach, and modern evaluation protocol incorporates both the animal-based and non-animal-based measures. Due to the different welfare score classes, this study’s objective was to determine the variability of biochemical and hematological parameters, as well as the body condition score. The study was conducted involving 145 Holstein cows, randomly chosen from the six commercial dairy cow farms. The dairy cows’ welfare assessment checklist consisted of seventy items, pursuant to the CReNBA protocol. The biochemical parameters in blood and the milk plasma were determined using the Beckman Coulter AU400 (Beckman Coulter, FRG) automatic clinical chemistry analyzer. The obtained results indicate that the lower albumin, triglyceride, iron, and calcium values were detected in the cows bred on the farms that were ranked lower concerning the farm management and farm infrastructure levels. In the milk plasma, the concentration of albumins was higher (P<0.05) on the farms that were ranked lower concerning the farm management, infrastructure level, and total score scale. Iron concentration was higher (P<0.05) in the cows from the farms ranked lower concerning farm infrastructure and on the farms that were ranked higher concerning the animal level. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate was higher on the farms with worse marks on the farm infrastructure level and total AW score.

Correspondent author:
Marcela Šperanda, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek, Vladimira Preloga 1, 31000 Osijek, Croatia,