Occurrence of iron deficiency in growing cattle

Zentralbl Veterinarmed A. 1994 Apr;41(3):237-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0442.1994.tb00090.x.


Occurrence of iron (Fe) deficiency anaemia was investigated in 33 farms in 443 veal calves (group VC; 83% males and 17% females) fed whole, defatted or butter milk or milk powder without or with supplements and in 72 age- and weight-matched bull calves (group BC) fed roughage, concentrates with mineral and vitamin supplements. In group VC plasma Fe concentration was much more frequently decreased and total iron binding capacity was much more frequently increased than in group BC. In group VC haemoglobin concentration (Hb), packed cell volume (PCV) and red blood cell number (RBC) in 18, 23 and 3%, respectively, of calves were below--2SD of the mean of reference values (Hb: 105 +/- 14 g/l, PCV: 0.28 +/- 0.04 l/l, RBC: 8.2 +/- 1.0 T/l [means +/- 2 SD]), shown in another study to remain stable throughout the growth period when veal calves were fed 52 mg Fe/kg milk replacer. In contrast, in calves of group RC only 3% of Hb values, 3% of PCV and 1% of RBC were below reference values. Fe deficiency anaemia is therefore a rather frequent problem in veal calves, but not in young bulls, fed roughage, concentrates and mineral/vitamin supplements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / veterinary*
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / blood
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Iron / analysis
  • Iron / blood
  • Male
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Switzerland / epidemiology


  • Iron