Enteric pathogens in intensively reared veal calves

Sean P. McDonough From the Department of Pathology (McDonough, Osburn), and Veterinary Medicine Extension (Stull), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Carolyn L. Stull From the Department of Pathology (McDonough, Osburn), and Veterinary Medicine Extension (Stull), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Bennie I. Osburn From the Department of Pathology (McDonough, Osburn), and Veterinary Medicine Extension (Stull), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Summary

Observations were made on development of diarrhea in special - fed calves (n = 460) on 8 commercial facilities during 2 successive 16-week production cycles at weeks 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16. A total of 23% were affected, with peak number of calves with diarrhea observed at week 0. Suspected enteropathogens were identified in 86 % of these calves, most commonly cryptosporidia, coronavirus, and rotavirus. Identified potential zoonotic pathogens included Giardia and Salmonella spp and verotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Noncytopathic bovine viral diarrhea virus was isolated from 6 calves that had repeated bouts of illness. Only 22% of calves entering the veal facilities had adequate transfer of passive immunity. At week 0, serum IgG concentration in calves that subsequently died or had diarrhea was lower (P < 0.001) than that in healthy calves. All calves that died (n = 6) during the first 4 weeks of production had complete failure of transfer of passive immunity.

Summary

Observations were made on development of diarrhea in special - fed calves (n = 460) on 8 commercial facilities during 2 successive 16-week production cycles at weeks 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16. A total of 23% were affected, with peak number of calves with diarrhea observed at week 0. Suspected enteropathogens were identified in 86 % of these calves, most commonly cryptosporidia, coronavirus, and rotavirus. Identified potential zoonotic pathogens included Giardia and Salmonella spp and verotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Noncytopathic bovine viral diarrhea virus was isolated from 6 calves that had repeated bouts of illness. Only 22% of calves entering the veal facilities had adequate transfer of passive immunity. At week 0, serum IgG concentration in calves that subsequently died or had diarrhea was lower (P < 0.001) than that in healthy calves. All calves that died (n = 6) during the first 4 weeks of production had complete failure of transfer of passive immunity.

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