Metabolic profiles are used in dairy cattle to help identify nutrition and management problems. In addition, these profiles are used to assess animals which are clinically healthy, but are not meeting milk production potential or reproduction efficiency.

Metabolic profiles in dairy cows are used for two main reasons. The first is to assess the nutritional status of healthy cows performing at an acceptable level in an attempt to identify and thereby recognize any nutritional problems before they surface as a production or health related issue. The second reason is to identify nutritional issues in cows or herds with poor performance records, i.e., high incidence of transition problems, low milk production, poor pregnancy rates, etc.

A high prevalence of periparturient diseases may be associated with overall nutrition (net energy and/or mineral deficits). Some metabolic problems may not be readily apparent utilizing only a metabolic profile, therefore it may be necessary to add other tests such as vitamin A and E, trace minerals, or routine chemistry panels.

The Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) offers recommendations on sampling cattle for metabolic profiling and metabolic profiling tests.

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