Comparative study of “partial dietary cation-anion difference” strategy as a nutritional intervention for preventing subclinical hypocalcemia in dairy cattle

  • B. Norouzi
  • M. Hanifi
  • F. Teymouri
  • M. Mohri
  • K. SharifiEmail author
Original Article


Two experiments were carried out in order to evaluate the efficacy of a partially decreased dietary cation-anion difference (pDCAD) of dry period rations of dairy cattle ((DCAD ~ 0 mEq/Kg DM) in prevention of postpartum subclinical hypocalcemia (SCH). The primary goal of the Experiment I was to compare the efficacy of a pDCAD strategy in minimizing SCH against a full DCAD (fDCAD ~ − 50 mEq/Kg DM) and a low calcium diet (LCD) in late (21 days (d)) pregnancy in Farm 1, using 66 multiparous cows (parity ≥ 3). The primary goal of Experiment II was to evaluate the effect of extension of a pDCAD to whole dry period (expDCAD-60 days), enrolling 40 cows (parity ≥ 3) to compare a pDCAD vs. expDCAD strategy. In both experiments, a primiparous heifers group was included as well. Serum Ca, Pi, Mg, and energy status indicators β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were monitored pre- and post-partum, serially. Experiment I showed a significantly lower Ca, a numerically higher prevalence of SCH, and significantly lower NEFA and BHB in pDCAD vs. fDCAD. The prevalence of subclinical ketosis (SCK) was significantly higher in fDCAD peripartally. In Experiment II, a significantly higher Ca and lower prevalence of SCH were observed in expDCAD vs. pDCAD postpartum, while BHB, NEFA, and the prevalence of SCK were not significantly different. The prevalence of SCH in primiparous heifers in both experiments was about 30%. Overall, compared to common ordinary fDCAD strategy, pDCAD could be potentially regarded as a practical intervention, when the adverse effects of fDCAD are unavoidable.


Milk fever Hypocalcemia Dietary cation-anion difference Partial DCAD Dairy cattle 



We wish to thank Mr. M.H.Musazadeh and Mr. A. Abbasi, who let us run the present studies in their farms.

Funding information

This project was approved and financially supported by the Dean for Research of the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (Approval code 3/38409 session 494/18-05-94), Mashhad, IRAN.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The experiments were approved by the Committee for Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran

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