Chestnut extract likely to be toxic for newborn calves
Calves that suffered from liver problems in the south of Germany got sick from eating a chestnut extract. This was concluded from research at the Centre of Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Germany.
Beginning in the autumn of 2010, an increasing and alarming number of cases of calves suffering from liver dystrophy were reported in the south of Germany. A commercial dietary supplement was identified as the potential cause for this outbreak. Especially the components: dietary chestnut extract and glycerol monolaurate showed a cytotoxic effect.
The researchers have therefore set up a trial to test both components alone or in combination on liver function in ten newborn calves on a commercial dairy farm.
Treatment consisted of supplementation with chestnut extract at 0.02% of birth body mass (BM) (group C), supplementation with glycerol monolaurate at 0.006% of BM (group G) or a combined treatment (group CG) for five consecutive days. The effect of treatments on liver function was evaluated clinically and by measurement of glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities as well as the determination of the concentrations of glucose, L-lactate and total bilirubin in serum.
There was a significant increase in GLDH and AST activities and a significant decrease in glucose concentration in treatment groups C and CG compared with the control group (p ≤ 0.035), whereas no difference was shown for group G. Survival was significantly decreased in groups C (p = 0.029) and CG (p = 0.001) compared with both group G and the control group. The researchers therefore suggest that dietary chestnut extract in an amount of 0.02% of BM alone or in combination has a toxic effect on liver function in newborn calves.
This study was published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 2014 Mar 10.
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