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Title: Colostrum quality and immunocompetence development in artifically reared dairy calves
Author: Dunn, Amanda Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 267X
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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The studies reported in this thesis investigated the effects of colostrum management and passive transfer on immunocompetence development in dairy calves. Study 1 involved a survey of 21 commercial dairy farms across Northern Ireland (Nl). Fifty-six percent of the colostrum produced on these farms was satisfactory in terms of colostral IgG concentration. Factors associated with colostral IgG concentration during multivariate analysis were parity and hours from calving to colostrum collection. A range of physical and environmental factors were associated with the nutritional composition of colostrum. Study 2 investigated the effects of maternal nutrition and colostrum feeding volume on calf health, immunity and performance. Concentrate supplementation during the dry period had no effect (P < 0.05) on colostral IgG or calf sera IgG concentration, however did cause an increase in colostrum yield. Calves that received 10% (BW) in colostrum had a greater IgG concentration in their blood for the first 3 d post birth compared to calves receiving 5%BW. In study 3, two laboratory techniques used to directly assess the concentration of IgG in colostrum and calf sera were compared. It was established that both test kits provided a good level of reliability and both kits showed strong correlation with each other. However, the absolute values produced from both kits were dissimilar. Study 4 demonstrated how maternal antibodies were transferred from dam to calf via colostrum intake. Colostrum treatment group had no effect on the level of antibodies produced by the calves when vaccinated at 3 wk of age against BRSV, and again at 49 d when they were given a booster vaccine. No immune response was apparent after the primary BRSV vaccination, however an increase in antibody titre post booster was observed. Passive immune status had no effect (P > 0.05) on the blood metabolites measured to indicate distress at time of weaning (d 56). Study 5 focused on the changes in the dairy calf’s whole blood transcriptome pre and post colostrum feeding during the first week of life. The three main over-represented pathways at both time periods were cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, complement and coagulation cascades, and intestinal immune network for immunoglobulin A (IgA) production. Immunoglobulin G concentrations were greatest in the calves sera at 48 h post birth (15.2 ± 5.01 mg/mL), compared to concentrations at 0 h (0.64 ± 0.23 mg/mL), 72 h (13.5 ± 3.68 mg/mL), and 168 h (9.01 ± 3.08 mg/mL).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available