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Passive Immunity in Newborn Calves


The neonatal immune system at birth is naïve to the wide variety and types of pathogens present in the environment. Consumption of colostrum to provide circulating IgG prior to the cessation of macromolecular transport (“closure”) is essential to ensure healthy calves. There are a tremendous number of factors that may influence the absorption of IgG by calves; therefore, blanket recommendations for feeding one amount of colostrum to all calves is inappropriate. A model to evaluate factors affecting IgG absorption has been developed and those factors are discussed. Colostrum supplement products have been developed and are available in the marketplace. Unfortunately, many of these products provide little additional circulating IgG. Therefore, it is essential that producers carefully evaluate claims for improve circulating IgG and animal survival.


Jim Quigley
Director of Worldwide Research, APC, Inc., Ames, IA 50010

Email: jim.quigley@amerprotcorp.com