Copper and iron deficiency in dairy cattle

„Abramowicz B., Kurek Ł., Chałabis-Mazurek A., Lutnicki K. 2021. Copper and iron deficiency in dairy cattle. J. Elem., 26(1): . DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2020.25.4.2093”

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2020.25.4.2093

Copper deficiency is a common homeostatic disorder in dairy cattle farms in Poland. A simultaneous decrease in blood copper and iron concentrations is very rarely diagnosed and described in dairy cows. Copper is necessary for the mobilization of iron from the liver and its transport to bone marrow, where it is used for erythropoiesis. The aim of the study was to observe changes in haematological parameters in cows, resulting from copper deficiency or simultaneous deficiency of copper and iron, in comparison with animals from the same herds in which no deficiencies of these micronutrients were found. The study was conducted on 56 cows of the HF breed, aged from 3 to 6 years, from 3 dairy farms. The animals selected for the study were divided into three groups, two deficiency groups and one control group – without deficiency. Group I comprised animals with reduced concentration of copper in the serum, while group II comprised animals with low copper and iron concentrations. Group III comprised healthy cows without clinical symptoms and  mineral deficiency. In both deficiency groups, the one characterized by a low concentration of copper, as well as the one with low concentrations of copper and iron, a reduction in red blood cell parameters, which was statistically significant versus the control group, was observed. In the examined animals, normocytic normochromic anaemia was found in group I, while normocytic hypochromic anaemia was diagnosed in group II. Cows with simultaneous Cu and Fe deficiency have worse milk yield results and they are more often culled from the herd. It is not clear why only some animals in a herd develop simultaneous deficiency of these micronutrients.  

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Słowa kluczowe: haematology, copper and iron deficiency, dairy cows


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Prof. Julian Aleksandrowicz