Test blood for both NEFA and BHB 

During a webinar by UK-Vet Livestock, Julia Moorhouse, Head of Veterinary Services at Map of Ag, explained why it’s important to monitor both non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) during the transition period. The correlation between NEFA and BHB is not strong enough to use BHB alone as a predictor of health and production outcomes. Only 18% of ketone bodies (BHB) can be explained by NEFA concentrations in blood.

Measure both blood values

In other words, not all cows have elevated levels of both BHB and NEFA in the blood. According to Moorhouse, this could be because not all non-esterified fatty acids are mobilized and converted into ketone bodies in the same way. It is therefore important to test for both NEFA and BHB. The amount of NEFA in the blood is a more accurate indicator of negative energy balance than BHB. Test for both parameters, not just BHB, when a group of cows is experiencing health, fertility, or metabolic issues. The downside is that you can directly measure BHB with a ketone meter, whereas for NEFA, blood testing in a laboratory is required, says Moorhouse.

With BoviLab, this is a thing of the past. Within seven minutes, BoviLab analyses blood for six different parameters, including BHB and NEFA st the same time. Moreover, BoviLab is portable and user-friendly, as you do not need any laboratory experience to analyse blood.