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.