Eighty-two lactating Holstein cows in their first, second, or third lactation received either one, three, or five concurrent i.m. injections of a unit dose (0.6 g) of zinc methionyl bovine somatotropin (bST) or five doses of the vehicle. Injections were administered at 14-d intervals from 60 ± 3 d postpartum until the end of lactation or until necropsy. Thirty-eight cows were continued on the treatment for a 2nd yr. Blood samples were collected at wk -2, -1, 3, and 7 relative to the start of treatment and then every 8 wk (yr 1) or 4 wk (yr 2) thereafter. Untreated cows that were included in a survey of the resident herd were bled at wk 7 or 8, wk 10 or 11, and wk 13 or 14 of lactation and every 4 or 8 wk thereafter. Calves were bled within 72 h of birth and at approximately 5 wk of age. Most parameters associated with erythrocytes were decreased mildly in cows that were treated with bST. However, data remained within generally accepted reference ranges, and changes were not of clinical importance. Decreased hematocrit was not associated with increased hemolysis, hemodilution, or clinical anemia. No morphological lesions related to treatment were noted in the bone marrow or spleen; bST did not affect the incidence of immature cell types. Energy and protein balances did not significantly affect the hematological results of the cows. Calves generally were unaffected by bST treatment of the dam, but heavier calves had higher parameters associated with erythrocyte and lymphocyte counts than did calves with lower body weight. Exogenous bST treatment caused predictable changes in hematological parameters of dairy cows.
- Dairy cows