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  • ItemOpen Access
    Age-related changes in arterial blood-gas variables in Holstein calves at moderate altitude
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-05-15) Neary, Joseph M., author; Garry, Franklyn B., author; Raabis, Sarah M., author; Dove Medical Press Ltd., publisher
    The goal of this study was to determine whether peripheral oxygen delivery and efficacy of alveolar-arterial oxygen (A-a O2) transfer, as estimated from the A-a O2 pressure gradient, are compromised in Holstein calves at moderate altitude. The primary objective was to evaluate age-related changes in arterial blood-gas variables, L-lactate, and hematocrit in healthy calves. The secondary objective was to determine if coughing and nasal discharge, commonly used indicators of respiratory disease, are associated with A-a O2 gradient. Arterial blood-gas tensions were evaluated in a cohort of 61 dairy calves on one farm at moderate altitude (1,601 m to 1,696 m). Sampling was performed on four occasions at approximately 10, 38, 150, and 261 days of age. Hyperventilation, as indicated by hypocapnia, was evident in calves of all ages. Increasing age was associated with a nonlinear increase in arterial oxygen tension (P<0.001) and a nonlinear decrease in A-a O2 gradient (P<0.001). The mean A-a O2 gradient at 10 and 38 days of age was over 18 mmHg, indicating poor efficacy of oxygen transfer. Cough score (P=0.02) but not nasal score (P=0.32) was associated with an in increase in A-a O2 pressure gradient. Mean hematocrit remained low (<27%) despite hypoxemia. From 38 days of age, median L-lactate concentration remained over 1.5 mmol/L, indicating substantial anaerobic respiration due to inadequate oxygen delivery. Twenty-five percent of calves were treated for respiratory disease. The maximum age at first treatment was 102 days. In conclusion, there was a nonlinear improvement in A-a O2 transfer efficacy with increasing age, but peripheral oxygen delivery remained compromised. Hyperventilation and impaired A-a O2 transfer due to functional immaturity of the pulmonary system may be risk factors for respiratory disease in dairy calves at moderate altitude.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pulmonary arterial pressures, arterial blood-gas tensions, and serum biochemistry of beef calves born and raised at high altitude
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2013-07-15) Neary, Joseph M., author; Garry, Franklyn B., author; Holt, Timothy N., author; Knight, Anthony P., author; Gould, Daniel H., author; Dargatz, David A., author; Dove Medical Press Ltd., publisher
    High-altitude exposure is physiologically challenging. This is particularly true for animals native to low-altitude environments, such as British breeds of cattle. The objective of this study was to document the effect of high altitude on select physiological parameters of healthy beef calves (Bos taurus) born and raised on a high-altitude ranch typical of the Rocky Mountain region. Pulmonary arterial pressures, arterial blood-gas tensions, serum biochemistry, and hematocrit were evaluated. The calves studied were a composite of British (50%-75%) and Continental (25-50%) breeds born on one ranch at an altitude of 2410 m. Calves were sampled at an altitude of 2410 m when 1 month old and again at an altitude of 2730 m when 3 and 6 months old. Between 3 and 6 months of age, calves had access to grazing from 2730 m to approximately 3500 m above sea level. On each occasion, 16 to 50 calves were sampled. Only calves that remained healthy throughout all three testing periods were included in the dataset. Calves with the highest pulmonary arterial pressures at 1 month of age tended to have the highest pressures at 6 months of age (r = 0.43, P = 0.16, n = 12). Respiratory alkalosis was greatest at 6 months of age (pH 7.48 ± 0.06). Mean alveolar-arterial oxygen pressure gradients were 11.7and 11.6 mmHg at 3 and 6 months of age, indicating poor transfer of oxygen from the alveoli into the pulmonary blood. Median values for blood lactate ranged from 1.4 to 3.4 mmol/L indicating substantial anaerobic respiration at all ages. Mean hematocrits were ≤ 35.7%, only slightly higher than values obtained from age-matched calves at sea level. These results suggest that the provision of oxygen to the peripheral tissues of beef calves may be compromised at altitudes over 2410 m. This may have implications for diseases of the cardiopulmonary system.