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Serum IgG and total protein concentrations in dairy calves fed two colostrum replacement products

Derek M. Foster DVM1, Geof W. Smith DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Truman R. Sanner DVM3, and Gonzalo V. Busso MV4
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  • 1 Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • | 2 Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • | 3 Rocky Creek Veterinary Services, 178 Holstein Ln, Olin, NC 28660
  • | 4 Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate effects of 2 commercially available colostrum replacement products on serum IgG and total protein concentrations in dairy calves.

Design—Prospective clinical trial.

Animals—84 Holstein bull calves from a single dairy.

Procedures—Calves were randomly assigned to be given 4 quarts of colostrum (group 1; n = 21), 2 packages of a colostrum replacement product (product A; group 2; 21), 1 package of a different colostrum replacement product (product B; group 3; 21), or 2 packages of product B (group 4; 21). Treatments were given within 3 hours after birth, and blood samples were collected 24 hours later and submitted for determination of serum total protein and IgG concentrations.

Results—Group 1 calves had significantly higher serum total protein and IgG concentrations than did calves in the other 3 groups. However, the percentage of calves with adequate passive transfer (ie, serum IgG concentration > 1,000 mg/dL) was not significantly different among groups 1 (90%), 3 (81%), and 4 (95%). In contrast, only 10% of calves in group 2 had adequate passive transfer. It was predicted that calves fed product B that had serum total protein concentrations > 5.2 g/dL would have serum IgG concentrations > 1,000 mg/dL at least 90% of the time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that product B could be considered as an alternative to colostrum in dairy calves, but product A failed to routinely provide adequate serum IgG concentrations when fed according to label directions.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate effects of 2 commercially available colostrum replacement products on serum IgG and total protein concentrations in dairy calves.

Design—Prospective clinical trial.

Animals—84 Holstein bull calves from a single dairy.

Procedures—Calves were randomly assigned to be given 4 quarts of colostrum (group 1; n = 21), 2 packages of a colostrum replacement product (product A; group 2; 21), 1 package of a different colostrum replacement product (product B; group 3; 21), or 2 packages of product B (group 4; 21). Treatments were given within 3 hours after birth, and blood samples were collected 24 hours later and submitted for determination of serum total protein and IgG concentrations.

Results—Group 1 calves had significantly higher serum total protein and IgG concentrations than did calves in the other 3 groups. However, the percentage of calves with adequate passive transfer (ie, serum IgG concentration > 1,000 mg/dL) was not significantly different among groups 1 (90%), 3 (81%), and 4 (95%). In contrast, only 10% of calves in group 2 had adequate passive transfer. It was predicted that calves fed product B that had serum total protein concentrations > 5.2 g/dL would have serum IgG concentrations > 1,000 mg/dL at least 90% of the time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that product B could be considered as an alternative to colostrum in dairy calves, but product A failed to routinely provide adequate serum IgG concentrations when fed according to label directions.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Imu-Tek Animal Health and Land O'Lakes Incorporated.

The authors thank Carl DiCasoli and Dr. Howard Bondell for assistance with statistical analyses.

Address correspondence to Dr. Smith.