Proper colostrum management is well recognized as a vital step in preventing disease in neonatal calves, but failure of passive transfer of immunity continues to be a common problem in the US dairy industry.1,2 Transfer of passive immunity is generally considered to be adequate if serum IgG concentration is > 1,000 mg/dL in calves that have been fed colostrum.3
Several steps are critical to ensuring adequate transfer of passive immunity in dairy calves. Of these, the most important is ensuring administration of a sufficient quantity of good-quality colostrum during the first few hours of life. The current recommendation is that 4 L of colostrum with an IgG concentration > 50 g/L and bacterial count < 100,000 colony-forming units/mL be fed within the first 6 to 8 hours of life.3 In instances when only poor-quality or contaminated colostrum is available, dairy managers often turn to colostrum replacements or supplements to avoid failure of passive transfer of immunity in their calves. Colostrum replacements may also be used as a part of biosecurity programs to prevent transmission of disease-causing organisms such as Salmonella spp, Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis, bovine leukemia virus, and bovine viral diarrhea virus.
Despite the widespread use of colostrum replacement products in dairy calves, there is little information available on the efficacy of these products. While some serum-based colostrum replacers have been demonstrated to be effective,4–6 no milkor colostrumbased replacer products have been shown to routinely result in serum IgG concentrations ≥ 1,000 mg/dL in dairy calves.7–11 However, new products have recently become available with higher concentrations of IgG that could possibly be used as alternatives to colostrum. The purpose of the study reported here was to evaluate the effects of 2 commercially available colostrum-based replacement products on serum IgG and total protein concentrations in dairy calves.
Immu-Start 50, Imu-Tek Animal Health Inc, Fort Collins, Colo.
Land O' Lakes colostrum replacement, Land O' Lakes Inc, Saint Paul, Minn.
Prairie Diagnostic Services, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
Model 300027, SPER Scientific Ltd, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Weaver DM, Tyler JW, Van Metre DC, et al. Passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulins to calves. J Vet Intern Med 2000;14:569–577.
McGuire TC, Adams DS. Failure of colostral immunoglobulin transfer to calves: prevalence and diagnosis. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 1982;4:S35–S39.
McGuirk SM, Collins M. Managing the production, storage, and delivery of colostrum. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2004;20:593–603.
Quigley JD, Kost CJ, Wolfe TM. Absorption of protein and IgG in calves fed a colostrum supplement or replacer. J Dairy Sci 2002;85:1243–1248.
Jones CM, James RE, Quigley JD, et al. Influence of pooled colostrum or colostrum replacement on IgG and evaluation of animal plasma in milk replacer. J Dairy Sci 2004;87:1806–1814.
Quigley JD, Strohbehn RE, Kost CJ, et al. Formulation of colostrum supplements, colostrum replacers, and acquisition of passive immunity in neonatal calves. J Dairy Sci 2001;84:2059–2065.
Zaremba W, Guterbock WM, Holmberg CA. Efficacy of a dried colostrum powder in the prevention of disease in neonatal Holstein calves. J Dairy Sci 1993;76:831–836.
Garry FB, Adams R, Cattell MB, et al. Comparison of passive immunoglobulin transfer to dairy calves fed colostrum or commercially available colostral-supplement products. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:107–110.
Mee JF, O'Farrell KJ, Reitsma P, et al. Effect of a whey protein concentrate used as a colostrum substitute or supplement on calf immunity, weight gain, and health. J Dairy Sci 1996;79:886–889.
Hopkins BA, Quigley JD. Effects of method of colostrum feeding and colostrum supplementation on concentrations of immunoglobulin G in the serum of neonatal calves. J Dairy Sci 1997;80:979–983.
Arthington JD, Cattell MB, Quigley JD. Effect of dietary IgG source (colostrum, serum, or milk-derived supplement) on the efficiency of Ig absorption in newborn Holstein calves. J Dairy Sci 2000;83:1463–1467.
Etzel LR, Strohbehn RF, McVicker JK. Development of an automated turbidometric immunoassay for quantification of bovine serum immunoglobulin G. Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1201–1205.
Chelack BJ, Morley PS, Haines DM. Evaluation of methods for dehydration of bovine colostrum for total replacement of normal colostrum in calves. Can Vet J 1993;34:407–412.
Davenport DF, Quigley JD, Martin JE, et al. Addition of casein or whey protein to colostrum or a colostrum supplement product on absorption of IgG in neonatal calves. J Dairy Sci 2000;83:2813–2819.
Pritchett LC, Gay CC, Besser TE, et al. Management and production factors influencing immunoglobulin G1 concentration in colostrum from Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci 1991;74:2336–2341.
Moore M, Tyler JW, Chigerwe M, et al. Effect of delayed colostrum collection on colostral IgG concentration in dairy cows. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1375–1377.
Morin DE, Constable PD, Maunsell FP, et al. Factors associated with colostral specific gravity in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2001;84:937–943.
Maunsell FP, Morin DE, Constable PD, et al. Use of mammary gland and colostral characteristics for prediction of colostral IgG1 concentration and intramammary infection in Holstein cows. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:1817–1823.
Franklin ST, Amaral-Phillips DM, Jackson JA, et al. Health and performance of Holstein calves that suckled or were hand-fed colostrum and were fed one of three physical forms of starter. J Dairy Sci 2003;86:2145–2153.
Tyler JW, Steevens BJ, Hostetler DE, et al. Colostral immunoglobulin concentrations in Holstein and Guernsey cows. Am J Vet Res 1999;60:1136–1139.
Burton JL, Kennedy BW, Burnside EB, et al. Variation in serum concentrations of immunoglobulins G, A, and M in Canadian Holstein-Friesian calves. J Dairy Sci 1989;72:135–149.
Gay CC, McGuire TC, Parish SM. Seasonal variation in passive transfer of immunoglobulin G1 to newborn calves. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1983;183:566–568.
Holloway NM, Tyler JW, Lakritz J, et al. Serum immunoglobulin G concentrations in calves fed fresh and frozen colostrum. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:357–359.
Tyler JW, Hancock DD, Wiksie SE, et al. Use of serum protein concentration to predict mortality in mixed-source dairy replacement heifers. J Vet Intern Med 1998;12:79–83.
Robison JD, Stott GH, DeNise SK. Effects of passive immunity on growth and survival in the dairy heifer. J Dairy Sci 1988;71:1283–1287.
DeNise SK, Robison JD, Stott GH, et al. Effects of passive immunity on subsequent production in dairy heifers. J Dairy Sci 1989;72:552–554.
Rea DE, Tyler JW, Hancock DD, et al. Prediction of calf mortality by use of tests for passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulin. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:2047–2049.