Metabolic changes in ruminant calves fed cation-anion diets with different proportions of roughage and concentrate


Two experiments were carried out with twenty-four male weaned Holstein calves to verify the influence of different dietary cation-anion concentrate and roughage proportions on calves metabolism. In the first experiment, calves were fed rations with -100, +200 and +400 mEq cation-anion balance/kg of dry matter, containing 60% of roughage and 40% of concentrate. In the second experiment, calves (117.6±20.8 kg average weight) received rations with similar dietary cation-anion balance but in diets of 40% roughage and 60% concentrate. As the dietary cation-anion balance became more positive, there was a quadratic response of blood pH in both diets with 60 and 40% roughage. A linear increase following increased dietary cation-anion balance was observed on bicarbonate concentration, carbon dioxide tension, carbon dioxide partial pressure and urine pH on both experiments, while anion gap decreased linearly. Blood urea nitrogen and base excess increased quadratically according to increased dietary cation-anion balance on 60% roughage, whereas those same parameters showed a linear increase on 40% roughage. Growing ruminant metabolism both in cationic and anionic diets was modified when the roughage:concentrate ratio was altered.



bicarbonate, BUN, DCAB, nutrition, pCO2, pH