Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences


Joseph T. Blake


Twenty four cattle, six each of healthy cows and calves, and cows and calves with brisket disease, were obtained, examined and slaughtered, The concentrations of calcium, chloride, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc; and percent absolute dry matter and percent ash were determined in tissues selected from the following: cardiac, hepatic, renal, osseous, whole blood and blood serum. In addition, certain physical and biological parameters were recorded for each animal. The results were analyzed as a 2 x 2 factorial, segregating the effects of age and brisket disease, and the age-disease interaction.

The following statistically significant (P<0.05) differences were attributed to the effect of brisket disease: reduction in the percent dry matter and percent ash in all soft tissues studied; increase in cardiac, hepatic and renal calcium and sodium; decrease in serum total calcium; marked decrease in hepatic copper and increase in hepatic iron; decreased blood iron, hematocrit and hemoglobin; decreased hepatic potassium, magnesium and phosphorus; and increased hepatic zinc.

The effects of brisket disease are superimposed upon these marked differences in the cattle in the present study as compared to those in a previous study of well nourished cattle of similar breeding from a similar environment: reduced cardiac, hepatic, serum and osseous calcium; reduced hepatic, osseous and serum magnesium and increased renal magnesium; reduced hepatic phosphorus and increased renal phosphorus; reduced hepatic, serum and osseous potassium and increased cardiac potassium; and reduced cardiac, osseous and serum sodium and zinc.

The effects of age must be evaluated in view of the fact that half of the animals were diseased; moreover, some age effects occurred almost exclusively in the diseased animals. Statistically significant (P<0.05 ) differences attributed to the effect of age were: decreased phosphorus concentrations in hepatic and renal tissue and serum; increased percent dry matter in hepatic and osseous tissue; increased osseous percent ash; decreased hepatic and osseous potassium; increased serum ionic calcium; and decreased hepatic calcium, magnesium and sodium, all in cows as compared to calves.

The interaction of increased age and brisket disease produced the following statistically significant (P<0.05) results: hepatic percent dry matter and iron concentration were increased; hepatic magnesium, potassium and sodium were decreased; and cardiac zinc was increased.

Hypotheses regarding possible reasons for these results are formulated and discussed.



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