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To determine whether an estradiol-progesterone (EP) growth implant would have an effect on febrile responses and on the catabolic component of Eimeria bovis infection.


27 Holstein bull calves.


Calves were assigned to treatment groups as: control (n = 5), EP implant (EP, n = 5), E bovis-inoculated (coccidia: C, n = 7), pair fed (n = 4), or EP plus E bovis-inoculated coccidia (EP/C, n = 6) groups. Calves were provided subcutaneous EP implants at 8 weeks of age, and were inoculated with 2 × 105 oocysts of E bovis at 11 weeks of age. Body weight was measured on postinoculation day (PID) 0, 14, and 28. Rectal temperature and food intake were determined and fecal samples were collected daily from PID 15 to 28. Blood samples were collected on PID 24 for analysis of CD2+, CD4+, and CD8+ antigens and plasma insulin-like growth factor I concentration. Blood samples were collected at 15-minute intervals for measurement of pulsatile growth hormone release.


Group-EP/C calves had fever for 2 days versus 5 days for group-C calves (P < 0.05). These calves had diarrhea for fewer days than did their group-C counterparts (P < 0.05). Fibrinogen and glucose values were high in group-C (P < 0.05) but not group-EP/C calves. The latter had positive weight gain from PID 14 to 28, whereas group-C calves had weight loss (P < 0.05). Plasma insulin-like growth factor I concentration was reduced by infection (P < 0.05). EP-treated noninfected calves had increased numbers of CD2+, CD4+, and CD8+ blood mononuclear cells (P < 0.05).


EP has a protective effect in calves infected with E bovis. This may relate to changes in immune function induced by EP.

Clinical Relevance

Treatment of calves with EP could offer some protection against the often severe wasting and debilitation associated with E bovis infection. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:891–896)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research