Metabolic disorders, including hepatic lipidosis and ketosis, severely affect animal health status and welfare with a large economic burden in dairy herds. The gold standard for diagnosing hepatic lipidosis is the liver biopsy, which is impractical and invasive for the screening at farm level. Ultrasound (US) imaging is a promising technique for identifying liver dysfunction, but standardized specifications in physiological conditions are needed. Herein, we described the features of four US measurements, namely the liver predicted triacylglycerol (pTAG) content, liver depth (LD), and portal vein area (PVA) and depth (PVD) and we investigated their associations with a set of hematochemical (HC) indicators in 342 clinically healthy Holstein Friesian dairy cows. Liver pTAG content was negatively associated with hematocrit and positively with globulin, whereas PVA was negatively associated with thiol group levels, and LD positively with ceruloplasmin. We found significant interactions between some HC parameters and parity: in particular, creatinine, thiol groups and globulin for PVA, and aspartate aminotransferase, paraoxonase and ceruloplasmin for PVD. This study offers new insights on variations in liver function occurring after calving and pave the way for the potential use of minimally invasive techniques for prompt detection of metabolic disorders in dairy herds.
- Friesian cows
- Metabolic disorders