Vitamin analysis of animal blood and tissues is indicated in specific disease and poor-performance situations. In addition, vitamin analysis of feeds may be necessary for quality control, for determining vitamin stability, for problem investigations, and in research projects. The MSU VDL offers analytical services for fat-soluble vitamins (A and E) in animal blood and tissue samples as well as in feeds. Testing for Beta Carotene can be performed on feed and serum samples.

Vitamins A and E are important for maintaining health and innate immunity in cows during the peripartum period. Determining the vitamin E status of dry cows is particularly important if mastitis due to environmental agents, retained placenta, or metritis are clinical problems. Vitamin A deficiency can be determined from serum samples, but the most sensitive evaluation is via liver biopsy. Assessing vitamin concentrations in feeds may be important when mixing errors are suspected or when the stability of vitamins in commercial feeds is in question due to improper feed storage or handling procedures.

Collecting and Submitting Samples

Serum samples suitable for vitamin A and E evaluation can be obtained in the field using techniques that are practical and economical. Blood should be collected into Vacutainers™ or clean syringes and allowed to clot. Care should be taken to avoid hemolysis. Samples should be stored out of direct sunlight and refrigerated. They should be sent to the laboratory on ice and by overnight courier. Liver samples for vitamin A analysis can be taken from necropsy specimens or as biopsy samples. Feed samples for vitamin testing should be as representative as possible of the feed in question; also include a copy of the feed tag.

For complete information about vitamin tests, specimen requirements, or submittal procedures please see our catalog of available tests. Please call 517.353.1683 if you have any questions about vitamin testing.