Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2005
Publication Date: 10/18/2005
Citation: Nonnecke, B.J., Foote, M.R. 2005. Intensified nutrition and the adaptive immune response of the preweaned calf. Proceedings of Pacific Northwest Animal Nutrition Conference. p. 85-100. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Nutrition may have a profound influence on the maturation and competency of the neonatal immune system and consequent resistance of the preweaned dairy calf to infectious disease. Optimizing immune competency using nutritional approaches has the potential to increase infectious disease resistance, lessen the need for antibiotics, and limit antibiotic and pathogen contamination of meat and milk. And finally, optimal nutrition during the neonatal period may promote development of a more immunologically robust adult. It has been established that feeding greater amounts of milk replacer with higher protein concentrations improves the growth performance and feed efficiency of the preweaned calf. In a series of experiments, we have evaluated the effects of increased nutrition on the immune response of the milk replacer-fed dairy calves. To date, our experiments have failed to demonstrate that increasing dietary protein and energy above traditional feeding programs benefits the adaptive immune response of the preweaned calf. As consequence, antigen specific responses to vaccination or infection may not be enhanced by increasing the plane of nutrition above current recommendations of the National Research Council. Although not evaluated, the initial acute response to many infections may place metabolic demands on the calf that can only be met by intensified nutrition programs.