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Validation of single photon absorptiometry for on-farm measurement of density and mineral content of tail bone in cattle

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Coates, D.B., Dixon, R.M., Mayer, R. J. and Murray, R.M. (2016) Validation of single photon absorptiometry for on-farm measurement of density and mineral content of tail bone in cattle. Animal Production Science, 56 (12). pp. 2054-2059.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN15068

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/AN15068


A validation study examined the accuracy of a purpose-built single photon absorptiometry (SPA) instrument for making on-farm in vivo measurements of bone mineral density (BMD) in tail bones of cattle. In vivo measurements were made at the proximal end of the ninth coccygeal vertebra (Cy9) in steers of two age groups (each n = 10) in adequate or low phosphorus status. The tails of the steers were then resected and the BMD of the Cy9 bone was measured in the laboratory with SPA on the resected tails and then with established laboratory procedures on defleshed bone. Specific gravity and ash density were measured on the isolated Cy9 vertebrae and on 5-mm2 dorso-ventral cores of bone cut from each defleshed Cy9. Calculated BMD determined by SPA required a measure of tail bone thickness and this was estimated as a fraction of total tail thickness. Actual tail bone thickness was also measured on the isolated Cy9 vertebrae. The accuracy of measurement of BMD by SPA was evaluated by comparison with the ash density of the bone cores measured in the laboratory. In vivo SPA measurements of BMD were closely correlated with laboratory measurements of core ash density (r = 0.92). Ash density and specific gravity of cores, and all SPA measures of BMD, were affected by phosphorus status of the steers, but the effect of steer age was only significant (P < 0.05) for steers in adequate phosphorus status. The accuracy of SPA to determine BMD of tail bone may be improved by reducing error associated with in vivo estimation of tail bone thickness, and also by adjusting for displacement of soft tissue by bone mineral. In conclusion a purpose-built SPA instrument could be used to make on-farm sequential non-invasive in vivo measurements of the BMD of tailbone in cattle with accuracy acceptable for many animal studies.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:bone density, phosphorus status.
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary orthopedics
Live Archive:16 Jan 2017 23:30
Last Modified:31 Jan 2023 02:03

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