Newborn calves are fed with colostrum as soon as possible
Newborn calves must establish passive immunity by absorbing immunoglobulin (Ig) in colostrum. The time a calf is fed with colostrum after birth determines whether it can acquire sufficient passive immunity, that is, the ability to resist disease. The importance of this time point is to affect calves from two aspects: 1. The ability of the intestine to passively absorb Ig is decreasing, 2. The bacteria continue to proliferate in the intestine.
The ability of the intestine to passively absorb Ig is decreasing
After the calf is born, the intestines have a mature process. In this process, the intestinal cells gradually lose the ability to absorb Ig, but degrade Ig into amino acids. The current theory believes that the intestinal epithelial cells lose their ability to absorb macromolecules after 24 hours because the cells mature and form the digestive function of the cells; however, the cells mature from the birth of the calf. Rajalaand Castrén published a report in 1995 in the Journal of Dairy Science, saying that feeding colostrum within half an hour of birth reduced the serum IgG concentration by 2g/L. Researchers at Tennessee State University found that the absorption efficiency of IgG begins to decline within 1 hour of calf birth. Obviously, the sooner the colostrum is fed after the calf is born, the more passive immunity of the calf can be maximized.
In addition to the effects of cell development and maturation, digestive enzymes secreted by the real stomach and intestine will degrade IgG, which reduces the absorption efficiency (apparent absorption efficiency) of IgG. During a period of time after the calf is born, the secretion of digestive enzymes is Limitedly, this prevents most macromolecules from degradation. After 12 hours of birth, the secretion of enzymes is significantly increased, so that the IgG that can be directly absorbed is greatly reduced.
Germs continue to multiply in the intestine
The intestines of newborn calves are sterile, but the microbes in the environment begin to multiply in the intestines a few hours after birth. If the surrounding environment is dirty, this process will accelerate. If the surrounding environment contains a large number of pathogenic bacteria, the probability of the intestinal bacteria multiplying will increase accordingly. This can cause sepsis and increase morbidity and mortality. Dr. Robert James of Virginia Tech and his colleagues reported in 1981 that the intestinal flora accelerates the closure of the intestinal macromolecule absorption channels, thereby reducing the absorption of IgG.
Logan and colleagues studied enteropathogenic bacteria in newborn calves in 1977, fed the calves with colostrum and inoculated with E. coli. The first group was first fed with colostrum and then inoculated with E. coli; the second group was first fed with E. coli and then fed with colostrum. Almost all calves in the second group became ill, and about 75% eventually died. In contrast, the first group of calves did not suffer from illness or death.
The bottom line is to feed high-quality colostrum as soon as the calf is born. As the calf's intestine matures, the ability to absorb IgG decreases accordingly. Feeding colostrum early means healthier calves.
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