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Objective

To determine whether treatment with a commercially available nonspecific immunomodulating biologic product would alter the clinical course of disease in neonatal calves.

Design

Systematically randomized, controlled cohort study.

Animals

200 Holstein bull calves 1 to 5 days old.

Procedure

Assessments were performed that included evaluation of fecal consistency, attitude, appetite, and hydration status. Calves with abnormal results were enrolled in the study. Calves were systematically assigned to control or treatment groups (100 calves/group). Calves in the treatment group were given a single IV injection of the biologic product at the time of enrollment, whereas control calves were not given the product. Calves were assessed daily for 5 days to evaluate fecal consistency, attitude, appetite, hydration status, and rectal temperature. Assessments were made without knowledge of group assignment.

Results

Treatment with the immunomodulating product was not associated with a decrease in the number of calves that had moderate or severe departures from clinically normal conditions for attitude, appetite, or hydration on days 1 though 5, compared with control calves. Fecal consistency scores were significantly greater for treated calves on days 1 (P = 0.03) and 5 (P = 0.02), compared with scores for control calves.

Clinical Implications

Administration of the nonspecific immunomodulating biologic product did not significantly affect outcome of clinical disease for calves in the treated group, compared with calves in the control group. On the basis of results of this study, we cannot recommend use of the nonspecific immunomodulating biologic product for the treatment of undifferentiated diarrheal disease in neonatal calves. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;213:1308-1311)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association