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COLOSTRAL IMMUNOGLOBULIN ABSORPTION IN INTUBATED AND BOTTLE-FED CALVES
Seven male and 6 female newborn Holstein calves were removed from their dams before suckling and were fed pooled colostrum obtained from another dairy containing 5.7 g immune globulin per 100 ml colostrum either by bottle or by stomach tube. Each calf was fed the colostrum at a dose of 20 mI/kg birth weight at 6 hours, 20 ml/kg at 10 hours and 40 ml/kg at 14 hours of age. The changes in the serum proteins and their fractions as determined by cellulose acetate membrane electrophoresis were similar in both groups. The total serum protein, the alpha 2, the alpha globulin, the betaglobulin, the gammaglobulin and the plasma volume gradually increased.
The pre-colostral samples of all the calves contained a small concentration of gammaglobulin. By 1 day of age, the gammaglobulin increased by 0.78 g/l00 ml serum in the tube-fed (TF) calves and by 1.17 g/l00 ml in the bottle-fed (BF) calves. The packed cell volume of the TF calves decreased by 3.72% while that of the BF calves decreased by 1.33%. The absorptive efficacy of the gamma-globulin for the intravascular concentration which was 11.81% for the TF calves and 15.78% for the BF calves at 1 day of age was not statistically different. The gammaglobulin and the total protein were highest in the 24 hour and 72 hour samples respectively.
Four of the calves were unable to stand until one day of age. The TF calves gained a total of 17. 09% weight over their birth weight by 3 weeks of age while the BF calves gained 13. 81%. Neither the injection of vitamin ADE nor the presence or absence of coronavirus had any effect on the incidence of mild diarrhea. None of the 13 calves were hypogammaglobulinemic and no calf suffered from septicemia or enterotoxemia. None of the calves had severe diarrhea and thus no calf was treated.
Hypogammaglobulinemia was avoided in all the TF calves, but not in all the BF calves. It was concluded that the major cause of hypogammaglobulinemia is the mass of Ig ingested by the newborn calf. Since the rumen of the neonatal calf can empty itself and force feeding of pooled colostrum may be a very useful supplemental feeding method, it was recommended that calves in herds with calf mortality problem be tubed immediately after birth.
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523