Submitted to: Veterinary Record
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: In the cattle industry, quick reliable and reproducible tests to assess the overall health status of animals destined for human consumption are desirable. We have developed such a test that measures the level of a specific protein, referred to as haptoglobin, in the blood of cattle. This test was used to measure haptoglobin levels in cattle with a severe life threatening infection and following treatment with various antibiotics. Our results indicate that infected cattle have raised levels of haptoglobin, which then decline following successful antibiotic treatment of the infection. Measurement of the blood levels of haptoglobin could play a role in improving food safety by providing a tool for inspectors to evaluate animal health prior to slaughter. Furthermore, this test could be of economic benefit to veterinarians and producers by providing an additional management tool.
Technical Abstract: In order to understand the relationship between serum haptoglobin levels and clinical disease, the serum haptoglobin concentration was evaluated in cows diagnosed with a severe life-threatening uterine infection. A total of 51 cows with toxic puerperal metritis was treated with one of three different antimicrobial regimens. The mean serum haptoglobin level for all cows was elevated above 10 mg/dL on Day 1 prior to treatment and steadily declined over a five day treatment period to a mean serum level below 10 mg/dL. No correlation between serum haptoglobin levels and rectal temperature could be found over the five-day treatment period. These findings may help define the use of serum heptoglobin as a tool in diagnosis or determination of severity of disease and disease outcome after antimicrobial treatment in cattle.