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  • Author or Editor: James N. Spain x
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Objective—To determine the amount of colostral IgG required for adequate passive transfer in calves administered colostrum by use of oroesophageal intubation and evaluate the impact of other factors on passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulins in calves.

Animals—120 Holstein bull calves.

Procedures—Calves were randomly assigned to specific treatment groups on the basis of volume of colostrum administered and age of calf at administration of colostrum. Colostrum was administered once by oroesophageal intubation. Equal numbers of calves received 1, 2, 3, or 4 L of colostrum, and equal numbers of calves received colostrum at 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, or 22 hours after birth. Serum samples were obtained from calves 48 hours after birth for IgG determination by radial immunodiffusion assay. Effects of factors affecting transfer of colostral immunoglobulins were determined by use of a stepwise multiple regression model and logistic regression models.

Results—A minimum of 153 g of colostral IgG was required for optimum colostral transfer of immunoglobulins when calves were fed3Lof colostrum at 2 hours after birth. Substantially larger IgG intakes were required by calves fed colostrum > 2 hours after birth.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Feeding 100 g of colostral IgG by oroesophageal intubation was insufficient for adequate passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulins. At least 150 to 200 g of colostral IgG was required for adequate passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulins. Use of an oroesophageal tube for administration of 3 L of colostrum to calves within 2 hours after birth is recommended.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine sensitivity and specificity of 4 methods to assess colostral IgG concentration in dairy cows and determine the optimal cutpoint for each method.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—160 Holstein dairy cows.

Procedures—171 composite colostrum samples collected within 2 hours after parturition were used in the study. Test methods used to estimate colostral IgG concentration consisted of weight of the first milking, 2 hydrometers, and an electronic refractometer. Results of the test methods were compared with colostral IgG concentration determined by means of radial immunodiffusion. For each method, sensitivity and specificity for detecting colostral IgG concentration < 50 g/L were calculated across a range of potential cutpoints, and the optimal cutpoint for each test was selected to maximize sensitivity and specificity.

Results—At the optimal cutpoint for each method, sensitivity for weight of the first milking (0.42) was significantly lower than sensitivity for each of the other 3 methods (hydrometer 1, 0.75; hydrometer 2, 0.76; refractometer, 0.75), but no significant differences were identified among the other 3 methods with regard to sensitivity. Specificities at the optimal cutpoint were similar for all 4 methods.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that use of either hydrometer or the electronic refractometer was an acceptable method of screening colostrum for low IgG concentration; however, the manufacturer-defined scale for both hydrometers overestimated colostral IgG concentration. Use of weight of the first milking as a screening test to identify bovine colostrum with inadequate IgG concentration could not be justified because of the low sensitivity.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association