Use of mammary gland and colostral characteristics for prediction of colostral IgG1 concentration and intramammary infection in Holstein cows

Fiona P. Maunsell From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Maunsell, Morin, Constable) and the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (Hurley, McCoy), University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Dawn E. Morin From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Maunsell, Morin, Constable) and the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (Hurley, McCoy), University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Peter D. Constable From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Maunsell, Morin, Constable) and the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (Hurley, McCoy), University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Walter L. Hurley From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Maunsell, Morin, Constable) and the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (Hurley, McCoy), University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Gene C. McCoy From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Maunsell, Morin, Constable) and the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (Hurley, McCoy), University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Objective

To determine whether mammary gland or colostral characteristics at calving could be used to predict colostral immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) concentration or intramammary infection (IMI) and whether leakage of colostrum affects IgG1 concentration.

Design

Prospective study.

Animals

113 multiparous Holstein cows.

Procedure

Cows were examined within 3 hours of calving, and mammary gland and colostral characteristics, colostral volume, somatic cell count, and concentrations of IgG1, fat, and protein were determined. Bacteriologic culture of mammary secretions was performed approximately 14 and 7 days before calving and at calving. Associations of gland and colostral characteristics with colostral IgG1 concentration, colostral volume, and IMI were examined.

Results

Thick or thin colostrum had higher IgG1 concentration than colostrum of intermediate viscosity. Colostrum from mammary glands that were firm had low IgG1 concentration. Colostral IgG1 concentration was weakly correlated with volume. Intramammary infection was likely to be detected if colostrum contained clots or blood or if the California Mastitis Test (CMT) score was ≥ 2. Somatic cell count was higher for glands with IMI than for uninfected glands, and CMT score was correlated with cell count.

Clinical Implications

Mammary gland and colostral characteristics were of little value in predicting IgG1 concentration. Our findings do not support recommendations that first milking colostrum that is thin (watery) or that is from cows producing large volumes not be fed to dairy calves. Colostral characteristics, particularly CMT score, were of value for predicting IMI. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:1817-1823)

Objective

To determine whether mammary gland or colostral characteristics at calving could be used to predict colostral immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) concentration or intramammary infection (IMI) and whether leakage of colostrum affects IgG1 concentration.

Design

Prospective study.

Animals

113 multiparous Holstein cows.

Procedure

Cows were examined within 3 hours of calving, and mammary gland and colostral characteristics, colostral volume, somatic cell count, and concentrations of IgG1, fat, and protein were determined. Bacteriologic culture of mammary secretions was performed approximately 14 and 7 days before calving and at calving. Associations of gland and colostral characteristics with colostral IgG1 concentration, colostral volume, and IMI were examined.

Results

Thick or thin colostrum had higher IgG1 concentration than colostrum of intermediate viscosity. Colostrum from mammary glands that were firm had low IgG1 concentration. Colostral IgG1 concentration was weakly correlated with volume. Intramammary infection was likely to be detected if colostrum contained clots or blood or if the California Mastitis Test (CMT) score was ≥ 2. Somatic cell count was higher for glands with IMI than for uninfected glands, and CMT score was correlated with cell count.

Clinical Implications

Mammary gland and colostral characteristics were of little value in predicting IgG1 concentration. Our findings do not support recommendations that first milking colostrum that is thin (watery) or that is from cows producing large volumes not be fed to dairy calves. Colostral characteristics, particularly CMT score, were of value for predicting IMI. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:1817-1823)

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