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Objective—To evaluate precolostral hypogammaglobulinemia in neonatal llamas and alpacas, to determine when postcolostral peak serum IgG concentrations develop, to determine whether differences in postcolostral serum IgG concentrations between llamas and alpacas exist, and to determine postcolostral half-life of serum IgG in llamas and alpacas.

Design—Prospective observational study.

Animals—29 llama and 10 alpaca crias.

Procedure—Blood samples were collected prior to suckling and on days 1, 2, and 3 after parturition and analyzed for serum IgG concentration by use of a commercial radial immunodiffusion assay. Additional samples were collected on days 8, 13, and 18 from 8 crias to determine mean half-life of IgG.

Results—Llamas and alpacas are born severely hypogammaglobulinemic. Mean serum IgG concentrations for day-1, -2, and -3 samples for llamas were 1,578 mg/dl, 1,579 mg/dl, and 1,401 mg/dl, respectively, and for alpacas were 2,024 mg/dl, 1,806 mg/dl, and 1,669 mg/dl, respectively. Peak serum immunoglobulin concentration developed between days 1 and 2. Mean half-life of IgG for all crias was 15.7 days.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although increased mortality has been linked to failure of passive transfer, it is clearly possible to raise crias that have low serum immunoglobulin concentrations. Llamas and alpacas do not differ significantly with respect to immunoglobulin absorption or IgG concentration in neonates. The optimal sampling time for passive transfer status is between 1 and 2 days. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:738–741)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the effects of pasteurization of colostrum on serum lactoferrin concentration and neutrophil oxidative function by comparing values from calves given pasteurized (76 C, 15 minutes) colostrum versus calves given fresh frozen colostrum.

Animals—8 Holstein bull calves were used to study the effects of pasteurization of colostrum on the absorption of lactoferrin and neutrophil oxidative burst. Three additional calves were used to study the effect of exogenous lactoferrin on neutrophil oxidative burst.

Methods—Calves were fed fresh frozen or heat pasteurized colostrum (76 C for 15 minutes) via esophageal feeder within 4 hours of birth. Neutrophils were isolated from whole blood samples. Neutrophil oxidative burst was induced by phorbol ester (300 ng/ml) stimulation of cells (1 × 106 cells) at 37 C. Serum lactoferrin concentrations were compared, using immunoblot analysis. Serum IgG concentrations were determined by radial immunoassay. Comparisons were made between the use of the 2 types of colostrum in calves by measuring subsequent serum IgG and lactoferrin concentrations and neutrophil superoxide production.

Results—Serum IgG and lactoferrin concentrations increased more in calves receiving fresh frozen colostrum. Neutrophil superoxide production was higher in neutrophils prepared from calves receiving fresh frozen colostrum. Colostral lactoferrin addition to neutrophil incubations resulted in increased oxidative burst.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Compared with calves given fresh frozen colostrum, calves given pasteurized colostrum had decreased serum IgG and lactoferrin concentrations and neutrophil superoxide production 24 hours after administration. These results suggest that pasteurizing bovine colostrum at 76 C for 15 minutes has substantial effects on passive transfer of proteins and neutrophil function. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1019–1025)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research