Articles | Volume 55, issue 3
10 Oct 2012
 | 10 Oct 2012

Vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels in blood of dairy cows during subacute ruminal acidosis

C. Cannizzo, M. Gianesella, S. Casella, E. Giudice, A. Stefani, L. M. Coppola, and M. Morgante

Abstract. The aim of this study was to investigate the variations of vitamin B12 and homocysteine in blood of dairy cows during subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). On 228 subjects ruminal liquid was collected through rumenocentesis technique and rumen pH was immediately measured by a portable pH-meter. On the basis of pH values all cows were classified (bovine class) in Group A (animals with rumen pH>5.7), Group B (animals with rumen pH between 5.6 and 5.7) and Group C (animals with rumen pH<5.6). In relation to the acidosis risk depending on the rumen pH (herd class), the herds were classified in Group 1 (normal herds: less than 33 % cows with rumen pH<5.8), Group 2 (critical herds: more than 33 % cows with rumen pH between 5.5 and 5.8) and Group 3 (acidosis herds: more than 33 % cows with rumen pH<5.5). On blood samples, collected by jugular venipuncture, vitamin B12 and homocysteine were measured by chemiluminescent immunological tests. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), followed by Bonferroni test, showed significant differences (P<0.05) for vitamin B12 in bovine class and significant differences (P<0.05) for homocysteine in herd class. The influence of rumen pH values resulted in adequate vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels to meet microbial and cow requirements and fatty acids modifications in dairy cows affected by SARA. Moreover, the increase of vitamin B12 could be due to the presence of analogues which interfere with the transport of the vitamin. These findings provide more information on blood modifications during SARA.