Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 46, Number 1, January-February 2006
Page(s) 57 - 62
Published online 27 January 2006
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 46 (2006) 57-62
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2005066

Relationship of body condition score and blood urea and ammonia to pregnancy in Italian Mediterranean buffaloes

Giuseppe Campanilea, Gianluca Negliaa, Rossella Di Paloa, Bianca Gasparrinia, Corrado Pacellib, Michael J. D'Occhioc and Luigi Zicarellia

a  DISCIZIA - Dipartimento di Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli Alimenti - B. Ferrara section - Federico II University, V. F. Delpino, 1, 80137 Naples, Italy
b  Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Animali - Università degli Studi della Basilicata, v. dell'Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy
c  School of Animal Studies, Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, Australia

(Received 28 February 2005; accepted 22 August 2005; published online 27 January 2006)

Abstract - The relationship of body condition score (BCS) and blood urea and ammonia to pregnancy outcome was examined in Italian Mediterranean Buffalo cows mated by AI. The study was conducted on 150 buffaloes at 145 ± 83 days in milk that were fed a diet comprising 14.8% crude protein, 0.9 milk forage units·kg-1 dry matter and a non-structural carbohydrate/crude protein ratio of 2.14. The stage of the oestrous cycle was synchronised by the Ovsynch-TAI programme and blood urea and ammonia levels were assessed on the day of AI. Energy corrected milk (ECM) production and BCS were recorded bi-weekly. The pregnancy risk was 46.7% and was slightly lower in buffaloes with BCS < 6.0 and BCS > 7.5. There were no significant differences in ECM, urea and ammonia between pregnant and non-pregnant buffaloes. However, pregnancy outcome was higher (P = 0.02) in buffaloes with blood urea < 6.83 mmol·L-1. The likelihood of pregnancy for buffaloes with low urea blood level was 2.6 greater than for high urea level and exposure to a high urea level lowered the probability of pregnancy by about 0.25. The findings indicate that buffaloes are similar to cattle and increased blood levels of urea are associated with reduced fertility when animals are mated by AI.

Key words: buffalo / BCS / urea / ammonia / pregnancy

Corresponding author: Giuseppe Campanile

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006