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Location: Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research

Title: Effects of fractionated colostrum replacer and vitamins A, D, and E on haptoglobin and clinical health in neonatal Holstein calves challenged with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis

item Krueger, Lucas - Iowa State University
item Reinhardt, Timothy - Tim
item Beitz, Donald - Iowa State University
item Stuart, Robert - Stuart Products Incorporated
item Stabel, Judith

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/6/2015
Publication Date: 1/21/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Krueger, L.A., Reinhardt, T.A., Beitz, D.C., Stuart, R.L., Stabel, J.R. 2016. Effects of fractionated colostrum replacer and vitamins A, D, and E on haptoglobin and clinical health in neonatal Holstein calves challenged with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis. Journal of Dairy Science. 99(4):2884-95. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-10395.

Interpretive Summary: Morbidity and mortality in neonatal calves is a major concern for dairy producers. Evidence suggests that calves can become infected shortly after birth by exposure to pathogens such as Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, Salmonella, and Mycoplasma in either the feces or milk of infected dams, bedding or cohabitation with other infected animals. These pathogens may be spread to calves through colostrum or waste milk from sick or infected cows. Some producers have opted to feed colostrum replacers and/or pasteurized whole milk to their calves to avoid the potential spread of disease. However, the vitamin content of milk is negligible and may be impacting the immune response of neonatal calves to infectious pathogens. This study demonstrated that feeding colostrum replacer reduced the inflammatory state of calves and vitamin supplementation of colostrum improved serum vitamin levels. This information provides a useful management tool for dairy producers in allaying the spread of infectious disease to their calves and improving their health.

Technical Abstract: Thirty Holstein calves were obtained from two dairy farms in central Iowa at birth and randomly assigned to one of six treatment groups: 1) colostrum deprived (CD), no vitamins; 2) colostrum replacer (CR), no vitamins; 3) CR, vitamin A; 4) CR, vitamin D3; 5) CR, vitamin E; 6) CR, vitamins A, D3, E, with 5 calves per treatment in a 14 d study. Calves were fed pasteurized whole milk (CD calves) or fractionated colostrum replacer (CR) at birth and injected with vitamins according to treatment group. All calves were inoculated with Mycobacterium avium, subsp. paratuberculosis on d 1 and 3 of age. Thereafter, all calves were fed pasteurized whole milk (PWM) and supplemented orally with vitamins as assigned. Calves fed CR acquired IgG1 and haptoglobin in serum within 24 h of birth, whereas CD calves did not, and CR-fed calves were 2.5 times less likely to develop scours. Additionally, synergistic effects of supplemental vitamins A, D3, and E on 25-(OH)-vitamin D in serum at d 7 and a decreased incidence of scours in calves supplemented with vitamins D3 and E were observed. Vitamin D3 deficiency was found in non-supplemented calves fed a basal diet of pasteurized whole milk. Our results indicate (1) passive transfer of haptoglobin to neonatal calves, and (2) health benefits of supplemental vitamins D3 and E to calves fed pasteurized whole milk.