Osteomalacia as a result of phosphorus deficiency in beef cattle grazing subtropical native pastures in Uruguay
Schild, C.O.; Boabaid, F.M.; Olivera, L.G.S.; Machado, M.; Vildoza, A.; Saravia, A.; Custodio, A.; Command, C.; Martinez, A.ín.; Jaurena, M.ín.; Dixon, R.; Riet-Correa, F.
Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation Official Publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Inc 33(5): 1018-1022
We investigated 2 outbreaks of osteomalacia as a result of phosphorus (P) deficiency in herds of lactating beef cows grazing subtropical native pastures in Uruguay. Cows exhibited pica, difficulty to stand and walk, rib fractures, and body weight loss even with adequate forage availability. Osteopenia and severe osteomalacia were observed on gross and histologic examination. The concentrations of bicarbonate-extractable P in soil (4.0, 4.1 mg P/kg), total P in pasture (0.9, 1.1 g P/kg), inorganic P in serum (1.0, 0.71 mmol P/L), and P in bone (73 mg P/mL) were all low. Although injectable and mineral salt supplements provided additional P in both outbreaks, these supplementary amounts were insufficient to prevent P deficiency. The P ingested by the cows from the pasture and supplements would have provided 20-55% of their daily P requirements of ~21 g P/d. Osteomalacia occurred in cattle at the 2 ranches as a result of severe P deficiency in the soil and forage, and inadequate P supplementation. Following diagnosis, control of P deficiency in beef cattle requires estimation of the amount of pasture P ingested and provision of sufficient additional supplementary P to meet the animals' requirements.