Summary: The minimisation of neonatal mortality is critical for the success of an animal management programme. The period between calving and weaning is the most crucial period in the animal's life. A major management tool that could be used to reduce health problems in calves is feeding with colostrum. Colostrum is rich in energy, protein and vitamins (especially vitamins A, D, E and B12). Most importantly, colostrum is essential for newborns, in that it contains high levels of immunoglobulins, which transfer passive immunity to the calf, and thereby, enable it to fight with infections.
The aim of the present study was to determine the correlation between serum Ig G levels and routine ...view middle of the document...
For this reason, the period between calving and weaning is a very critical stage in the animal’s life (4). Colostrum feeding is an important tool used to reduce health problems that may be observed in calves. Colostrum feeding is essential for calves, not only because colostrum is rich in energy, proteins and vitamins (in particular vitamins A, D, E and B12), but also due to colostrum containing proteins and peptides, which have strong biological activity, as well as immunoglobulins, which are an important component of passive immunity and are transferred to calves by the feeding of maternal colostrum (4,6).
The determination of colostrum immunoglobulin levels bears significance, in that it aids in determining the quality of colostrum, and because it is important for the reduction of the risk of disease in newborn animals (13). Although immunoglobulin levels can be determined accurately by single radial immunodiffusion (SRID) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), these methods are both costly and time consuming (2). On the other hand, although easily applicable and inexpensive, the zinc sulphate and sodium sulphate turbidity tests do not produce sensitive results. In this respect, the development and use of inexpensive, highly sensitive, rapid tests that can be easily applied under field conditions would provide major advantages (2,7).
In calves and lambs, intestinal absorption being non-selective within the first 24¬–48 hours of life, enables the direct absorption of several proteins and macromolecular substances from the intestines (9). If the newborn animal is fed with maternal colostrum within this time period, apart from immunoglobulins, several colostral enzymes may also be absorbed from the intestines (2). The measurement of serum enzyme levels in goats and some other ruminants, aids in the determination of the immunity level in these animals (13).
The present study was aimed at the assessment of the feasibility of the prediction of serum immunoglobulin levels in newborn calves by means of the measurement of routine biochemical parameters. Thereby, it would be possible to monitor the passive transfer status of newborn animals more easily and rapidly, at much lower costs, alternatively to methods such as ELISA, which are both difficult to apply under field conditions and expensive.
Materials and Method
Blood samples were collected within the first 24–48 hours of calving from 79 calves raised at the Bala Agricultural Enterprise subordinated to the General Directorate for Agricultural Enterprises (TİGEM) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Serum was extracted from these samples to determine the passive transfer status of the calves using a commercial Bovine Ig G ELISA kit (Alpha Diagnostic International). Based on their serum Ig G levels, the calves were allocated to three groups (insufficient n=13; <800m g/dl, partial n=14; 800-1600 mg/dl and normal passive transfer n=52; >1600 mg/dl). Using an Abbot...