Some factors affecting neonatal calf survival and subsequent growth rate

Petrie, Lyall (1980) Some factors affecting neonatal calf survival and subsequent growth rate. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of scanned version of the original print thesis] PDF (scanned version of the original print thesis)
Download (20MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


As In other ruminants, the transmission of passive immunity from cow to calf occurs via the colostrum in the period immediately after birth. However, work which had been carried out In the Department of Medicine of the University of Glasgow Veterinary School had shown that many calves passing through markets in the west of Scotland were hypogammaglobul inaemic and that as many as one-third of these hypogammaglobulinaemic calves were likely to die from either colisepticaemia or the effects of severe neonatal diarrhoea. Studies in the second decade of this century had shown that death was almost the inevitable sequel to colostrum deprivation, but as few farmers deliberately deprive calves of colostrum, investigations were instituted into the absorption of colostral gammaglobulins. It was shown that the absorption of the colostral gammaglobulins was related to the time of first feeding and to the concentration of gammaglobulins of the colostrum; any delay in feeding colostrum would decrease absorption of the gammaglobulins, and that absorption had ceased by 18.5 hours after birth; the absorption of colostral gammaglobulins was directly proportional to the gammaglobulin concentration of the colostrum. The present study was undertaken to examine systems of early post-natal management which would result in the acquisition of high serum concentrations of maternally-derived immunoglobulins and to examine the effect on the incidence of-disease and growth rates during the first four weeks of life. Calves were assisted to suckle colostrum to satiation as early as possible after birth. No difficulty was encountered encouraging calves to ingest a considerable weight of colostrum within an hour of birth. The quantity of colostrum varied, but was on average just over seven per cent of the calves' birth weight. For 25 calves, this intensive, immediate post-partum management regime resulted in the high serum concentrations of absorbed immunoglobulins with a mean of 27.24 +/- 6.10 ZST units. No significant increase was obtained in the serum concentrations of absorbed immunoglobulins by permitting calves which had been fed' to satiation Immediately after birth to remain with their mothers for the first twelve hours of life and encouraging them to suckle again at twelve hours post-partum. This regime of early, assisted suckling was extended to 100 calves 'and it was shown that a small proportion of calves (less than 5%) may remain severely hypogammaglobulinaemic despite ingesting an adequate quantity of colostrum. The ingestion of colostrum with very low whey immunoglobulin concentrations was responsible for this serum Immunoglobulin deficiency. In the present study, loss of mammary secretions prior to parturition was the major cause of the low immunoglobulin concentration of the colostrum. The breeds of the calves which were used in this were predominantly Ayrshire, Friesian, or crosses between these two breeds, and reflected the main type and breeds of cattle in the west of Scotland. Using the data for the 100 calves assisted to suckle to satiation immediately after birth there was no significant difference in the absorption of colostral immunoglobulins between the different breeds and crosses. A small survey of calves passing through local markets revealed that over 40 per cent of the calves were severely hypogammaglobulinaemic, a proportion similar to that found in previous surveys. Examination of the incidence of diarrhoea in calves, reared in groups of nine to fifteen, revealed that the incidence of diarrhoea was highest during the second week of life. No significant correlation could be demonstrated between the incidence of diarrhoea during the first four weeks of life and the 1ivewelght gain over that period in seven of the eight groups of calves examined. Furthermore, there was no significant correlation between the incidence of diarrhoea during the first four weeks of life and the serum concentrations of absorbed immunoglobulins at 48 hours of age. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Veterinary science, animal sciences.
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Supervisor's Name: McIntyre, Prof. W.I.M.
Date of Award: 1980
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1980-71969
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 13:35
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 14:36
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71969

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year