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Effects of a blend of essential oils in milk replacer on blood parameters of dairy heifers.

M. M. Campos



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Effects of a blend of essential oils in milk replacer on blood parameters of dairy heifers.
J. P. Campolina1, S. G. Coelho1, A. L. Belli1, L. G. R. Pereira2, T. R. Tomich2, W. A. Carvalho2, M. M. Campos*2. 1Department of Animal Science, Veterinary School, Federal University of Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, 2Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecu�ria, EMBRAPA), National Center for Research on Dairy Cattle Juiz de Fora, MG, Brazil.

The rise of organic dairy farms increased demands for natural alternatives to improve animals' development and health. The objective of this study was to characterize the hematological and biochemical responses of dairy heifers supplemented with of a commercial blend of essential oils (Apex calf, Adisseo, China) in milk replacer (MR) and its carryover effects for 30 d after weaning. Twenty-nine newborn Holstein x Gyr crossbred dairy heifers were randomly distributed among 2 treatments: Control (CON), no essential oils, n = 15 and blend of essential oil added to milk replacer (MR) (BEO), 1 g/calf/d, n = 14. Heifers received 5 L of MR with 15% of total solids, divided in 2 daily meals until 60 d of age, when they were weaned. Water and calf starter were offered in buckets for ad libitum intake. Jugular blood samples were collected every 7 d, 3 h after morning feeding, for β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), urea and glucose concentrations, every 14 d for IGF-1 concentrations, and on d 0, 30 and 60 for erythrogram and leukogram analysis. Data were analyzed using R (R Core Team, 2019), as a randomized block model with repeated measures, using the linear mixed model. All blood metabolites were not altered by BEO supplementation. Urea and BHB concentrations increased with age (P ≤ 0.05). IGF-1 concentrations increased with age on the preweaning phase (P ≤ 0.05). Glucose did not change during preweaning period. These changes are directly correlated gut and calf development. There were no differences in erythrogram parameters between BEO and CON. Leukogram parameters showed decreased counts of basophil and platelet cells in BEO treatment (P ≤ 0.05). An interesting interaction effect was found also for lymphocytes, where values of d 30 and 60 were different from d 1. The lower counts of basophil and platelets on BEO treatment may influence and modulate inflammatory response by secretion of immune modulators, growth factors or chemotaxis on variety of white blood cells. Feeding BEO to preweaned heifers on MR did not affect blood metabolites or IGF-1 concentration. However, it showed signs of immunity improvement.

Keywords: blood metabolites, erythrogram, health.