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Evaluation of factors affecting serum IgG concentrations in bottle-fed calves

Munashe Chigerwe BVSc, MPH, PhD, DACVIM1, Jeff W. Tyler DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Marin K. Summers BS3, John R. Middleton DVM, PhD, DACVIM4, Loren G. Schultz DVM, MS, DACVPM5, and Dusty W. Nagy DVM, PhD, DACVIM6
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of time interval from birth to first colostrum feeding on colostrum intake and serum IgG concentration and the effect of varying colostral volume intake and colostral IgG concentration on the probability of failure of passive transfer (FPT) in bottle-fed calves.

Design—Randomized controlled study.

Animals—104 calves.

Procedures—Equal numbers of calves were randomly assigned to groups and fed 3 L of their dam's colostrum at 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours after birth by use of a nipple bottle. Calves were allowed to feed for 15 minutes, and intake was recorded. A second 3-L bottle feeding of colostrum was offered at 12 hours of age.

Results—17.2% of calves ingested 3 L of colostrum at the first feeding and 3 L at 12 hours of age. Calf age, up to 4 hours, had no significant effect on the calf's ability to ingest colostrum or on 48-hour serum IgG concentration. Colostral intake at 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours had no effect on intake at the second feeding. Probability of FPT in calves ingesting 3 L at both feedings was < 0.05.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Allowing calves fed by nipple bottle to ingest as much colostrum as they can within 4 hours after birth and at 12 hours of age substantially reduced the probability of FPT. Bottle-fed calves that do not ingest 3 L of colostrum within the first 4 hours after birth should be targeted for oroesophageal intubation.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of time interval from birth to first colostrum feeding on colostrum intake and serum IgG concentration and the effect of varying colostral volume intake and colostral IgG concentration on the probability of failure of passive transfer (FPT) in bottle-fed calves.

Design—Randomized controlled study.

Animals—104 calves.

Procedures—Equal numbers of calves were randomly assigned to groups and fed 3 L of their dam's colostrum at 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours after birth by use of a nipple bottle. Calves were allowed to feed for 15 minutes, and intake was recorded. A second 3-L bottle feeding of colostrum was offered at 12 hours of age.

Results—17.2% of calves ingested 3 L of colostrum at the first feeding and 3 L at 12 hours of age. Calf age, up to 4 hours, had no significant effect on the calf's ability to ingest colostrum or on 48-hour serum IgG concentration. Colostral intake at 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours had no effect on intake at the second feeding. Probability of FPT in calves ingesting 3 L at both feedings was < 0.05.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Allowing calves fed by nipple bottle to ingest as much colostrum as they can within 4 hours after birth and at 12 hours of age substantially reduced the probability of FPT. Bottle-fed calves that do not ingest 3 L of colostrum within the first 4 hours after birth should be targeted for oroesophageal intubation.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Chigerwe's present address is Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Supported in part by the University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, the University of Missouri Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Committee on Research, and USDA Formula Funds.

Address correspondence to Dr. Chigerwe.