Pathophysiology of humeral fractures in a sample of dairy heifers
New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 230-237, Jul 2016
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
AIMS: To investigate the pathophysiology of humeral fractures in first-lactation dairy heifers in the North Island of New Zealand.
METHODS: Ten 2-year-old dairy heifers with humeral fractures were subject to euthanasia and the fractured and non-fractured contralateral humeri were collected. Humeri were also collected from 10 unaffected 2-year-old dairy heifers sent for slaughter. Humeri from heifers with and without fractures were examined using computed tomography (CT), and four slices of the diaphysis and lower metaphysis (D1–4) were analysed using the Bone J plug-in for Image J. The humeri were sectioned sagittally and 5 mm bone slabs were processed for histopathology.
RESULTS: There were no differences in bone length between the humeri from heifers with or without fractures (p=0.31). Median cortical bone mineral density at D1 was increased in humeri from affected compared with unaffected heifers (810
CONCLUSIONS: The CT and histological findings were consistent with a diagnosis of osteoporosis. We propose that humeral fractures in dairy heifers are associated with osteoporosis, possibly as a result of insufficient deposition of bone during growth because of protein-calorie malnutrition. Increased osteoclastic resorption of bone associated with calcium mobilisation for lactation, and periods of copper deficiency may contribute to bone weakening.
KEY WORDS: Osteoporosis, fracture, dairy cattle, computed tomography
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