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Reducing Failure of Passive Immunoglobulin Transfer in Dairy Calves


The dairy calf is unique in that its only source of early immunity is obtained passively from colostrum after birth. There are many factors that impact the early immune status of the dairy calf. Primary factors include the quality of colostrum fed, time of feeding and amount fed. The resulting condition when blood IgG levels are not met is termed failure of passive transfer or FPT. 

Failure of passive transfer of immunoglobulin results in increased morbidity and mortality for the young calf this is a great economic importance to the dairy industry.  Recent research has shown methods to pasteurize colostrum to reduce bacterial loads in colostrum. Pasteurization has shown the additional effects of improving immunoglobulin absorption by the calf.


A. J. Heinrichs and J. A. Elizondo- Salazar- Department of Dairy and Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University