The study investigated the effects of prolonged oral administration of dexamethasone at a low daily dosage of 0.75 mg/head per day (Dexa) on beef cattle productive traits, behaviour and meat quality. In all, 14 finishing Marchigiana bulls were used in a trial that begun 56 days prior to slaughter, of which six bulls received treatment from day 5 to day 53, whereas the remaining animals were used for Control. The animals treated showed an increased average daily gain (1515 v. 1177g/head per day; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 48.54) and improved warm carcass dressing percentage (60.8% v. 59.7%; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 0.32). Behavioural observation did not permit a clear distinction between treated and Control animals since feeding and social behaviour were similar in both groups. The bulls treated spent less time lying (16.5% v. 34.6%; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 4.38) and grooming (6.7% v. 11.9%; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 1.23), and this may indicate poorer welfare. No evidence of treatment was observed in other carcass traits, and redness was the only meat quality parameter slightly affected by corticosteroid administration.

Administration of dexamethasone per os in finishing bulls. I. Effects on productive traits, meat quality and cattle behaviour as indicator of welfare

GOTTARDO, FLAVIANA;BRSCIC, MARTA;CONTIERO, BARBARA;COZZI, GIULIO
2008

Abstract

The study investigated the effects of prolonged oral administration of dexamethasone at a low daily dosage of 0.75 mg/head per day (Dexa) on beef cattle productive traits, behaviour and meat quality. In all, 14 finishing Marchigiana bulls were used in a trial that begun 56 days prior to slaughter, of which six bulls received treatment from day 5 to day 53, whereas the remaining animals were used for Control. The animals treated showed an increased average daily gain (1515 v. 1177g/head per day; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 48.54) and improved warm carcass dressing percentage (60.8% v. 59.7%; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 0.32). Behavioural observation did not permit a clear distinction between treated and Control animals since feeding and social behaviour were similar in both groups. The bulls treated spent less time lying (16.5% v. 34.6%; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 4.38) and grooming (6.7% v. 11.9%; P < 0.05; s.e.d. = 1.23), and this may indicate poorer welfare. No evidence of treatment was observed in other carcass traits, and redness was the only meat quality parameter slightly affected by corticosteroid administration.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2433154
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