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Open Access Research article

A randomized controlled trial on preweaning morbidity, growth and mortality in Holstein heifers fed a lacteal-derived colostrum replacer or pooled maternal colostrum

Sharif S Aly12*, Patrick Pithua3, John D Champagne1 and Deborah M Haines45

Author affiliations

1 Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 18830 Road 112, Tulare, CA 93274, USA

2 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA

3 Department of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery, Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, 900 E. Campus Drive, Columbia MO 65211, USA

4 Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK S7N 5A2, Canada

5 The Saskatoon Colostrum Co. Ltd, 30 Molaro Place, Saskatoon SK S7K 6A2, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:168  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-168

Published: 21 August 2013

Abstract

Background

The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to determine the effect of feeding a commercial lacteal-derived colostrum replacer (CR) or pooled maternal colostrum (MC) on preweaning morbidity, growth and mortality in Holstein heifer calves. A total of 568 calves were randomly assigned to be fed either 3.8 L of pooled MC or two doses (200 g IgG) of a CR. Calves were monitored daily for preweaning morbidity until weaning at 60 d old. Birth and weaning weights were measured to estimate growth rates.

Results

Calves fed CR were significantly less likely to be affected with a diarrhea event (OR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.88; P value = 0.011) and had a higher rate of daily weight gain (0.051 kg/day; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.08; P value <0.001) compared to calves fed pooled MC. Use of lacteal-derived colostrum replacer was not significantly associated with respiratory disease (OR = 1.01; 95% CI 0.67 to 1.51; P value = 0.974 ), omphalitis (OR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.06 to 14.86; P value = 0.956), or mortality (HR = 0.71; 95% CI 0.27 to 1.92; P value = 0.505) in the study calves.

Conclusions

The lacteal-derived CR fed at the study dose was a viable colostrum alternative in the event of poor quality pooled MC for the prevention of preweaning diarrhea and resulted in higher growth rates in comparison to calves fed pooled MC in the study herd.

Keywords:
Lacteal-derived colostrum replacer; Pooled maternal colostrum; Calf morbidity; Daily weight gain