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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Supplemental Energy on Metabolic Parameters and Immune Function in Periparturient Dairy Cows with Johne's Disease

Authors
item Stabel, Judith
item Goff, Jesse
item Kimura, Kayoko

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 2, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: Stabel, J.R., Goff, J.P., Kimura, K. 2003. Effects of supplemental energy on metabolic parameters and immune function in periparturient dairy cows with johne's disease. Journal of Dairy Science. 86:3527-3535.

Interpretive Summary: Johne's disease is a chronic, debilitating intestinal disorder in cattle characterized by diarrhea, reduced feed intake, weight loss and death. Cattle usually become infected as young calves by ingesting feces containing the causative bacteria. However, symptoms of disease do not usually present themselves until the animals reach 3 to 5 years of age or even older. Clinical signs of disease may be precipitated by stressors such as parturition, heavy lactation, concomitant viral or bacterial infections, and malnutrition. It is well known that parturition causes cows to become immunosuppressed and makes them more susceptible to infections such as mastitis and metritis. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of giving additional feed (energy) to cows with Johne's disease in the periparturient period. Results of this study suggest that additional energy may be beneficial for the function of some immune cells and may alleviate some immunosuppression.

Technical Abstract: The present study was designed to evaluate whether feeding supplemental energy would improve the metabolic profile and alleviate some of the immunosuppression typically noted during the periparturient period in dairy cows with Johne's disease. Twelve naturally infected dairy cows were fitted with rumen cannulas in late gestation and assigned to treatment groups: control, n = 6; or stuffed, n = 6. Cows assigned to the stuffed treatment group received additional TMR by manually stuffing their rumens with refused feed to maintain DMI of 2% BW/day throughout the periparturient period. Serum beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) and nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels were significantly (P < 0.0001) decreased during the periparturient period for the stuffed cows, indicating that stuffing with TMR improved the energy balance in the cows. In addition, serum calcium and magnesium concentrations were significantly (P < 0.01) higher in stuffed cows. Stuffed cows also had higher serum 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 levels at calving when compared to control cows at calving. Stuffing modulated cell-mediated immunity by reducing (P < 0.05) lymphocyte proliferative responses to T-cell mitogens during early lactation. Stuffing resulted in an increase in the secretion of in vitro immunoglobulin by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after parturition when compared to control cows. These data demonstrate that energy balance is improved by providing additional energy in this manner and suggest energy supplementation can improve some aspects of immune function during the periparturient period. (Key words: parturition, dairy cows, energy, Johne's disease) Abbreviation key: ConA = concanavalin A; PWM = pokeweed mitogen; PHAP = phytohemagglutin P; PBMC = peripheral blood mononuclear cells; HEYM = Herrold's Egg Yolk Medium; cfu = colony forming unit.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014