Invited review: abomasal damage in veal calves
Bus, J.D. ; Stockhofe, N. ; Webb, L.E. - \ 2019
Journal of Dairy Science 102 (2019)2. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 943 - 960.
abomasal damage - etiology - risk factor - veal calf
Within all cattle production systems, veal calves are the most severely affected by abomasal damage, with current prevalence at slaughter ranging from 70 to 93% of all animals affected. Although most damage is found in the pyloric region of the abomasum, fundic lesions are also found. Despite past research into the etiology of abomasal damage and the many risk factors that have been proposed, consensus on the causal factors of abomasal damage in veal calves has not yet been reached. The aim of this review was to integrate and analyze available information on the etiology of, and possible risk factors for, abomasal damage in veal calves. We describe various proposed pathways through which risk factors may contribute to damage formation and conclude that the etiology of abomasal damage is most likely multifactorial, with diet being a main contributor. Pyloric lesions, the most common type of damage in veal calves, are likely the result of large and infrequent milk and solid feed meals, whereas fundic lesions may be caused by stress, although the evidence for this is inconclusive. Providing calves with multiple smaller milk and solid feed meals (or ad libitum provision) may decrease abomasal damage. In future research, ulcers, erosions, and scars as well as fundic and pyloric lesions should be recorded separately, because etiologies of these may differ. Further research is required to understand the exact pathway(s) by which milk replacer causes abomasal damage in veal calves; that is, whether low abomasal pH, overloading, or composition are important. Further research is also required to elucidate whether rapid intake of milk replacer and solid feed, which is influenced by restricted amounts fed, inter-calf competition, and calf breed, increases abomasal damage. Research is also needed into the effect of medication and nutrient deficiencies other than iron. The types of experimental designs that can be used for future research could be enhanced if a means to assess abomasal damage antemortem is developed. We conclude that it is unlikely that abomasal or ruminal hairballs, iron deficiency, water provision, and various infections and diseases are significant contributors to abomasal damage in veal calves.
Prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders recorded at postmortem inspection in white veal calves and associated risk factors
Brscic, M. ; Heutinck, L.F.M. ; Wolthuis-Fillerup, M. ; Stockhofe, N. ; Engel, B. ; Visser, E.K. ; Gottardo, F. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Lensink, B.J. ; Cozzi, G. ; Reenen, C.G. van - \ 2011
Journal of Dairy Science 94 (2011)2. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 853 - 863.
carbohydrate-composition - growth-performance - animal performance - rumen development - neonatal calves - abomasal damage - meat quality - solid feeds - calf diets - behavior
The study aimed at assessing the prevalence of poor rumen development, presence of rumen plaques, rumen papillae hyperkeratinization, and abomasal lesions in veal calves and to investigate risk factors for their occurrence at the farm level. Within a wide cross-sectional study, a sample of 170 veal farms representative of the European veal meat production systems was considered in the 3 major producing countries (99 in the Netherlands, 47 in France, and 24 in Italy). An average of 59 ± 10 (SD) rumens and abomasa belonging to calves from a single batch per farm were inspected at the abattoir by trained observers to assess the incidence of these gastrointestinal disorders. Potential risk factors for their occurrence related to farm management, housing, and to the feeding plan were obtained by a questionnaire submitted to the stockperson. Prevalence of poor rumen development (almost no papillae present), rumen plaques, and hyperkeratinization were 60.4, 31.4, and 6.1% of rumens, respectively, whereas abomasal lesions in the pyloric area were recorded in 74.1% of abomasa. Independent variables related to the feeding system confirmed to be the main risk factors for the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders in veal calves. However, additional risk sources for each given problem were identified among housing and management variables. The provision of a low amount of solid feed (=50 kg of dry matter/head per cycle) was a relevant risk for rumen underdevelopment. Rumen wall alterations (plaques and hyperkeratinization) and abomasal lesions were instead associated with the administration of large quantities of solids (151–300 kg of dry matter/head per cycle) in calves receiving milk replacer during the entire fattening cycle. Among the types of solid feed, cereal grain acted as a preventive measure for low rumen development, whereas it was a risk factor for the occurrence of rumen plaques, papillae hyperkeratinization, and abomasal lesions. Some housing and management options adopted to improve veal calf welfare (i.e., higher space allowance and use of heating) were associated with lower risk for gastrointestinal disorders.