Animal Science, Department of


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J. Anim. Sci. 2017.95:5327–5338 doi:10.2527/jas2017.1913


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The objectives of this study were 1) to determine if supplementation of zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) altered select organ weights, histology, and cardiac anatomical features at harvest and 2) to determine if administration of a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and vasopressin (VP) challenge following 20 d of ZH supplementation altered the blood chemistry profile in cattle. Crossbred heifers (n = 20; 556 ± 7 kg BW) were randomized into 2 treatment groups: 1) control (CON), without ZH, and 2) zilpaterol (ZIL; ZH at 8.33 mg/kg [DM basis] for 20 d). On d 20 of supplementation, heifers were fitted with indwelling jugular catheters. On d 24, starting at 0800 h and continuing until 1600 h, blood samples were collected at 60-min intervals. At 1000 h, heifers received an i.v. bolus of CRH (0.3 μg/kg BW) and VP (1.0 μg/kg BW) to activate the stress axis. Serum was separated and stored at −80°C until analyzed for a large-animal chemistry panel. Following the CRH/VP challenge, heifers were harvested on d 25, 26, and 27 (5, 6, and 7 d after ZH supplementation); BW, HCW, select organ weights, and histology were measured, and a total heart necropsy was performed. A treatment effect (P ≤ 0.02) was observed for Ca, K, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, and sorbitol dehydrogenase. Zilpaterol-fed heifers had decreased (P ≤ 0.02) concentrations of Ca and K and increased concentrations (P < 0.01) of creatinine (P = 0.02) during the CRH/VP challenge when compared to control heifers. Control heifers had greater (P ≤ 0.05) alkaline phosphatase and sorbitol dehydrogenase concentrations when compared with ZIL heifers. A treatment × time interaction (P = 0.02) was observed for P; concentrations were similar between treatments from −2 to 6 h postchallenge, and 7 h postchallenge CON heifers had decreased P. Liver (P = 0.06) and kidney (P = 0.08) weights as a percentage of BW tended (P ≤ 0.08) to be reduced in ZIL heifers. Gross liver weights tended (P = 0.08) to be lower in ZIL heifers. Other organ (heart, lung, adrenals) to BW ratios remained similar (P ≥ 0.41). These data suggest that there are some variations observed between treatments in terms of response to ZH supplementation and the CRH/VP challenge; however, in the environmental conditions of this study, limited variation in blood metabolic responses and organ weights suggests that the supplementation of ZH did not detrimentally alter the physiology of cattle.