Addition of gut active carbohydrates to colostrum replacer does not improve passive transfer of immunoglobulin G in Holstein dairy calves

M. Villettaz Robichaud, S. M. Godden, D. M. Haines, D. B. Haley, D. L. Pearl

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4 Scopus citations


The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effects of supplementing a commercial colostrum replacer (CR) with gut active carbohydrates (GAC) on passive transfer of IgG in commercial dairy calves. A secondary objective was to evaluate the effect of treatment on preweaning health and growth. A total of 240 newborn Holstein dairy calves on a commercial dairy farm were enrolled in this study. Newborn heifer and bull calves were weighed and then randomly assigned to either the treated group [GAC: 30 g of GAC mixed into 1.5 doses (150. g of IgG) of commercial colostrum replacer; n = 119] or the control group [CON: 1.5 doses (150. g of IgG) of CR; n = 121]. The assigned CR treatment was fed within 3.5. h of birth using an esophageal tube feeder. Venous blood samples were collected at 0 and 24. h of age and used to measure serum IgG (mg/mL) and serum total protein (g/dL) concentrations and to estimate the apparent efficiency of absorption of IgG (%). The 129 heifers calves enrolled (CON = 60; GAC = 69) were also followed until weaning to assess the effect of GAC addition on preweaning health and growth. Multivariable linear regression showed that the addition of GAC to CR did not influence passive transfer of IgG, as measured by apparent efficiency of absorption at 24. h of age (CON = 54.0 vs. GAC = 54.3%), serum IgG (CON = 20.3 vs. GAC = 20.2. mg/mL), and serum total protein (CON = 5.69 vs. GAC = 5.68. g/dL). Although study sample sizes were not originally derived to evaluate health outcomes, treatment had no effect on weight gain or incidence of health events (diarrhea, pneumonia, mortality) for heifer calves between birth and 7 wk of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5700-5708
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014



  • Colostrum replacer
  • Gut active carbohydrates
  • Immunoglobulin absorption
  • Passive transfer

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