Effects of injectable vitamin E before or after transit on receiving phase growth performance, health, and blood parameters of beef steers

Colten W. Dornbach, Aubree M. Beenken-Bobb, Daniel W. Shike, Stephanie L. Hansen, Joshua C. McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective was to determine the effects of injectable vitamin E (VE) before or after transit on feedlot cattle receiving performance, health, and blood parameters. Angus × Simmental steers (n = 196; body weight [BW] = 163 ± 29 kg) were utilized in a randomized complete block design. Steers were blocked by BW and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: intramuscular injections of saline pre- and post-transit (CON), intramuscular injections of VE (2,000 mg d-α-tocopherol) pre-transit and saline post-transit (PRE), or intramuscular injections of saline pre-transit and VE (2,000 mg d-α-tocopherol) post-transit (POST). Pre-transit injections were administered on day 0, and steers were transported on day 7 for approximately 4 h (348 km). After arrival, steers were fed a common corn silage-based diet in GrowSafe bunks. Final BW tended to be greater (P = 0.08) for CON steers compared with POST steers while PRE steers were intermediate. From days 7 to 63, treatment affected average daily gain (ADG) with PRE and CON steers exhibiting (P = 0.04) greater ADG compared with POST steers. Dry matter intake (DMI), water intake, and gain to feed from days 7 to 63 were not affected (P ≥ 0.17) by treatment. Day 0 serum α-tocopherol concentrations were considered marginal (2.3 ± 0.2 mg/l). A treatment × day interaction (P < 0.01) was observed for serum α-tocopherol concentrations. Serum α-tocopherol concentrations were greatest for PRE steers on day 7 (prior to and post-transit), but greater for POST steers on dys 10 and 14. Plasma ferric-reducing antioxidant potential concentrations increased (P = 0.04) for POST steers compared with CON steers and PRE steers being intermediate. Plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) concentrations exhibited a treatment × day interaction (P = 0.04) with CON and POST steers being 16% and 14% greater than PRE steers on day 14, respectively. On day 21, NEFA concentrations were greatest for POST steers compared with PRE steers and CON steers being intermediate. There was no main effect (P ≥ 0.14) of treatment on the number of bovine respiratory disease morbidity treatments. Hair cortisol concentrations were decreased (P < 0.01) 14 days after transit for PRE and POST steers compared with CON steers. Overall, injectable VE administered before or after transit increased serum tocopherol concentrations while reducing stress, but did not improve the growth performance of beef steers during the receiving phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskac333
JournalJournal of animal science
StatePublished - 2023


  • feedlot
  • receiving phase
  • shipping stress
  • α-tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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