The effect of increasing the Vitamin B12 status of Romney ewes on foetal liver Vitamin B12, milk Vitamin B12 and liver Vitamin B12 concentrations in suckling lambs

The effect of increasing the Vitamin B12 status of Romney ewes on foetal liver Vitamin B12, milk Vitamin B12 and liver Vitamin B12 concentrations in suckling lambs
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To determine the effect of increasing the Vitamin B12 status of the ewe on the Vitamin B12 supply to the suckling lamb.
METHODS: The Vitamin B12 status of the ewe was increased during gestation and lactation by three injections of a longacting preparation of Vitamin B12 microencapsulated in an organic acid polymer. The Vitamin B12 status of the ewes and suckling lambs was assessed from changes in serum and liver Vitamin B12 concentrations.
RESULTS: Compared to untreated animals, serum and liver Vitamin B12 concentrations of the treated ewes were increased at least 70% during gestation. Foetal liver Vitamin B12 concentrations were increased 270%. Over the lactation, ewe serum and milk Vitamin B12 concentrations were increased at least 200% and 44%, respectively. The liver Vitamin B12 stores of the newborn lambs from Vitamin B12-treated ewes were depleted within 58 days. There were no significant differences in the serum Vitamin B12 concentrations of suckling lambs from Vitamin B12-treated and untreated ewes.
CONCLUSION: Ewes with a high Vitamin B12 status will ensure an adequate supply of Vitamin B12 to their lambs for at least the first 30 days of life. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: In flocks grazing Co-deficient pastures, treating ewes with a long-acting Vitamin B12 supplement at mating will prevent Vitamin B12 (Co) deficiency in ewes, as well as their lambs, until they can be treated at tailing at 4-6 weeks of age.
KEY WORDS: Ewes, lambs, Co deficiency, long-acting Vitamin B12.

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