CZAAWE Resource Article

Administration of dexamethasone per os in finishing bulls. II. Effects on blood parameters used as indicators of animal welfare
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
1751-7311 1751-732X
A set of hormonal, haematological and biochemical parameters was used to evaluate the physiological response and welfare status of 14 finishing Marchigiana bulls treated for 49 days with a low daily dosage (0.75 mg/head per day) of dexamethasone per os. Compared to the Control group, dexamethasone decreased cortisol concentrations (42.3 v. 5.7 nmol/l; s.e.d.54.17; P,0.001), and led to the reversal of the leukocyte formula in the animals treated (P,0.05). Total serum proteins (70.2v. 73.9 g/l; s.e.d.51.55;P,0.05), in particularb1globulins (7.5v.9.1 g/l; s.e.d.50.24;P,0.01) and fibrinogen (199v. 258 mg/dl; s.e.d.532.70;P,0.05), increased as a consequence of treatment. Prolonged dexamethasone administration led the bulls to an apparently chronic stress condition. Moreover, the study indicated various blood parameters that might be used by health officials as effective tools in identifying beef cattle suspected of being illegally treated with dexamethasone.