Monensin controlled-release capsule administered in late-pregnancy differentially affects rumination patterns, metabolic status, and cheese-making properties of the milk in primiparous and multiparous cows

Matteo Mezzetti, Fiorenzo Piccioli-Cappelli, Paolo Bani, Massimo Amadori, Luigi Calamari, Andrea Minuti, Juan J Loor, M. Bionaz, Erminio Trevisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The increased resistance to disease observed after monensin treatment could reflect a reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress. We hypothesised that if monensin supplementation was given before calving, it would help in controlling inflammation, reduce the susceptibility to disease and increase the performance. Fourteen pregnant heifers (PR) and 24 multiparous cows (ML) were randomly assigned to a treated group (Mon) or a control group (Ctr). The Mon group received 32.4 g of monensin in a controlled-release capsule 21 days before calving (expected release rate, 335 mg/d for 95 days). Their health status, rumination activity, and plasma parameters were monitored from –28 to 56 days from calving. The milk yield (MY), milk composition, and cheese-making properties were also monitored. Rumen samples were collected at 30 days from calving to assess the volatile fatty acids composition and investigate immunological parameters. After calving, the Mon group had fewer clinical diseases, an increased rumination time, and a higher MY. Monensin reduced the infiltration of both T and B cells in rumen fluid. In ML, the Mon group had lower levels of β-hydroxybutyrate in the early postpartum period and a lower level of total reactive oxygen species. Of PR, the Mon group had a tendency for lower levels of nonesterified fatty acids, higher levels of ceruloplasmin after the first month of lactation, a tendency for lower levels of paraoxonase, higher levels of γ-glutamyl transferase and higher levels of total reactive oxygen species. Monensin treatment decreased the cheese-making properties in the milk of PR.Highlights Monensin improved the performance of all the animals and decreased the disease incidence in all of them. Monensin heightened the inflammatory and oxidative stress status and reduced the cheese-making properties in pregnant heifers. Although different effects were seen in cows with different parity, dairy cows generally beneficed of monensin administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1283
Number of pages13
JournalItalian Journal of Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Holstein dairy cow
  • inflammo-metabolic profile
  • milk traits
  • rumen immunology
  • transition period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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