Improving passive transfer of immunoglobulins in calves. I: Dose effect of feeding a commercial colostrum replacer

S. M. Godden, D. M. Haines, D. Hagman

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63 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to describe the effects of feeding 1 or 2 doses of a commercially available colostrum-derived colostrum replacer (CR) on passive transfer of immunoglobulins (Ig) in newborn dairy calves, including IgG, IgG1, IgG2, IgA, and IgM. Newborn calves were removed from the dam before suckling and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment groups: group 1 were fed 1 package (100 g of IgG) of CR product, group 2 was fed 2 packages (200 g of IgG) of the same CR product, and group 3 was fed 3.8 L of maternal colostrum. All colostrum treatments were fed using an esophageal tube feeder within 2 h of birth. Blood samples collected before colostrum feeding and at 24 h of age were tested for serum total protein and Ig concentrations. Mean 24-h serum total protein (TP) and IgG concentrations were significantly lower for calves in group 1 (n = 24; TP = 4.9 g/dL, IgG = 9.6 mg/mL) compared with calves in groups 2 or 3. There was no difference in 24-h serum TP or IgG concentrations between calves in group 2 (n = 23; TP = 5.5 g/ dL, IgG = 19.0 mg/mL) and calves in group 3 (n = 22; TP = 5.7 g/dL, IgG = 20.7 mg/mL). Fifty-four, 100, and 91% of calves in groups 1, 2 and 3 achieved acceptable passive transfer (24-h serum IgG ≥10 mg/ mL), respectively. Statistically significant but numerically small differences existed between calves in groups 2 and 3 for some 24-h serum Ig classes and subclasses (mean serum concentrations of IgG2, IgA, IgM) and for the relative percentages of Ig classes and subclasses (IgA, IgM, and IgG as a percentage of total Ig; IgG1 and IgG2 as a percentage of total IgG).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1750-1757
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support for this study was provided by the Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Fund. Financial and in-kind support was also provided by the Saskatoon Colostrum Company (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) .


  • Colostrum
  • Colostrum replacer
  • Immunoglobulin
  • Passive transfer


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