A novel method was used to detect the incidence of reticular groove contraction in yearling cattle. Following its oral administration, 13C octanoic acid is absorbed from the intestine, metabolised by the liver and the 13C label excreted in the CO2 of breath. Contraction of the reticular groove should result in a quicker and greater peak appearance of 13C in breath, than when swallowed material is delivered into the reticulo-rumen. Mean breath 13 C enrichment after drenching with NaCl was greater (P<0.001) than with water. Mean increases in enrichment after sucking molasses and label were greater than drenching with water (P<0.001) and NaCl (P<0.05). These results are consistent with sodium and sucking stimulating reticular groove contraction and support the use of this method as a simple, repeatable, non-radioactive and non-invasive means of detecting the route taken of orally administered therapeutic agents or nutrients. The test, for example, would identify those animals at risk by rumen bypass of anti-bloat agents.

LM, McLeay, VR Carruthers, and PG Neil

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 29-31, 1998
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