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Comparative evaluation of supplemental saturated and unsaturated fatty acids on the productive performance, oocyte and embryo quality and metabolism of dairy cows during the transition period and early lactation

Abstract

The transition period or peripartum in dairy cows is the period between 3 weekes before calving and the first 3 weeks of lactation. This period is considered to have great importance in the production cycle of dairy cows due to the occurrence of several changes in animal metabolism and physiology. These changes, mediated by hormonal and metabolic responses, are the result of modification of the predominant physiological state, switching from pregnant non-lactating to non-pregnant and lactanting. During this period stands out that the animals are in negative energy balance (NEB) due to reduced capacity for food intake combined with high nutritional requirements caused by fetal growth and high milk production after calving. Several studies have shown that the metabolic changes necessary to minimize the NEB are responsible for a decrease in reproductive efficiency and influence metabolism of the animals. Thus, as the fats have high energy coupled with a reduced energy loss during its metabolism, lipid supplementation for cows in transition period has been an excellent nutritional strategy to minimize the NEB and consequently increase productive, reproductive and health from supplemented animals. Added to this, recent studies show that polyunsaturated fatty acids, besides its energy factor, that are also present in saturated fat sources, have effective regulatory capacity of many metabolic systems generating performance improvements mainly in milk production and composition, reproductive efficiency and metabolism. Thus, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of supplementation with a source of saturated and unsaturated fatty acid in diets of dairy cows during the transition period and early lactation on productive performance, oocyte and embryo quality, concentrations of plasma metabolites and hormones. (AU)

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