The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the rumenocentesis procedure on dairy cows by determining selected metabolic and physiological variables representing the health status. Two groups of 6 cows either underwent rumenocentesis (GA) or sham (GB) procedures. Superficial skin temperature of the rumenocentesis area was measured using infrared thermography before the procedure (-1 h), immediately after (0 h), and at 48 h, 96 h, and 20 days following rumenocentesis. Blood samples were collected at all times, except for immediately after the procedure (0 h), and selected immunologic response variables were determined. Milk yield and rectal temperatures were measured daily. Rumenocentesis did not influence the white blood cell count, haptoglobin or total protein concentrations. Electrophoretic protein fractions were not different between GA and GB treatments. Milk yield and rectal temperature were not affected by rumenocentesis. Skin temperature of the rumenocentesis region in GA group cows increased by 1.0 °C immediately after rumenocentesis and returned to baseline after 48 h where it remained constantly until the end of the study; similar to observation in GB group cows. Results of this study would suggest minimal adverse effects on cow health and production when performing rumenocentesis for the diagnosis of subacute ruminal acidosis. Additional more intensive studies addressing animal welfare issues relative to the diagnostic techniques are needed.
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