Food Animal Internal Medicine
During the transition period, dairy cows mobilize triglyceride reserves stored in adipose tissues (AT) to offset the negative energy balance (NEB) induced by fetal requirements, the onset of lactation, and limited dry matter intake. Lipolysis hydrolyzes triglycerides and releases free fatty acids (NEFA) to be used as an energy substrate in different organs. In modern dairy cows, the lipolytic process is exacerbated because of their homeorhetic drive to meet the genetic potential for high lactation efficiency1. Excessive rates of lipolysis, usually measured as plasma NEFA and BHB, are a significant risk factor for the development of periparturient diseases and reduced lactation performance2. Periparturient health events have a high economic impact on dairy farms; for example, in the United States, costs associated with treating clinical cases of metritis, displaced abomasum (DA), and ketosis range between $145 and $340 per case. For these reasons, adequate management of periparturient cows is necessary to maintain the health and productivity of dairy herds. When designing and implementing periparturient cow programs, it is critical to monitor adipose tissue function and to consider tools that minimize lipolysis and maximize lipogenesis during the weeks following calving. This presentation will summarize recent advances in clinical, pharmacological, and nutritional tools for the evaluation and modulation of adipose tissue function in periparturient cows.