Performing a hematological profile of clinically normal cattle must take into account many factors such as age, physiological status of the animal, season and climate (Brucka-Jastrzebska et al., 2007; Farooq et al., 2017; Dzavo et al., 2020).
RBC count should include the total number of RBCs, hematocrit (HCT), hemoglobin (HGB) and erythrocyte indices which are mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) (Brockus, 2011). All these parameters were investigated in this survey.
The results of the investigated blood parameters reported in the present survey, were within the range of reference values for healthy dairy cattle (Krimer, 2011; Bellier and Cordonnier, 2010).
In this study, RBC, HGB and HCT contents were high in the beginning of gestation (1T). This may be associated with increased erythrocyte release from the spleen due to the stress of gestation (Kumar and Pachauri, 2000). It may also be related to changes in the release of erythrocyte stimulating factor (ESF), that is regulated by the relationship between tissue oxygen demand and the amount of oxygen transported by the blood (Jain, 1996).
The lowest RBC and HCT values were reported in cows in PP. This finding could be due to anemia caused by calving (Brockus, 2011) and to increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that could cause a reduction in erythropoiesis (Chikazawa and Dunning, 2016).
The findings of this investigation are consistent with others (Paiano et al., 2020; Herman et al., 2018; Pelletier et al., 1985; Rowlands et al. 1979).
For MCV, dry cows have the highest values, while lactating cows (PP) have the lowest values. This is consistent with the results of Sattar and Mirza (2009). This observation, suggests a change in plasma volume induced by the cessation of milk production (Shalit et al., 1991; Wohlt et al., 1984).
MCH and MCHC contents in parturient cows were the highest. The same observations were found by Sattar and Mirza (2009).
The total number of platelets is influenced by the quantity of consumption, production, sequestration, and loss (Russell, 2010). The change in platelet count during the four stages investigated in this study was not significant. The same finding was made by Mirzadeh et al. (2010).
The WBC count is higher in early pregnancy cows (1T) compared to the other groups. Our results are consistent with Abdelatif and Alameen (2012) and Ouahrani and Bordjah (2016).
The increase in the number of WBC in PP compared to 3T observed in this survey is due to the increase in antepartum cortisol (Preisler et al., 2000). In addition, cows must satisfy the needs of their fetus at the end of gestation, which increases the energy demand reaching the peak around one month before parturition, to synthesize colostrum and milk (Esposito et al., 2014).
In the present study, NEU and LYM levels were higher in early lactation (PP) than in the third trimester of gestation (3T) and EOS, BASO and MONO were not affected by the periparturient period. This is consistent with the results of Ate et al. (2009), Sattar and Mirza (2009) and Klinkon and Zadnik (1999).
Regarding ions, K, Ca and P, recorded the lowest levels in postpartum cows (PP). This is explained by the occurrence of hypocalcemia coupled with hypophosphatemia during calving due to the high demand by the mammary gland, a few days before calving. In the absence of any health problems, this hypocalcemia is physiological (Goff, 2014; Goff, 2008; Horst et al., 2005). This finding is in accordance with Cerutti et al. (2018).
Ca and P concentration is regulated by parathormone, which stimulates Ca reabsorption from the urine and bone and stimulates P absorption from the intestine (Cavestany et al., 2005; Peterson et al., 2005; Goff et al., 2014). The sudden high mobilization of circulating Ca and P by the mammary gland at the onset of lactation, however, leads to a decrease in their blood concentration (Goff and Liesegang, 2014).
However, the Na level was not significantly different between the different stages investigated. This observation is consistent with that of Pelletier et al. (1985).
An increase in plasma electrolyte concentration in the postpartum period has been reported in cattle affected by renal dysfunction or related to stress conditions caused by adrenocorticotropin hormone release and inflammatory conditions occurring around calving (Harshfield et al., 2009; Weeth and Lesperance, 1965). In our study, all cows were healthy and were raised under optimal conditions of which the lowest ion values were observed in PP.