• Cattle;
  • Immunity;
  • Passive transfer;
  • Serum protein

Background: Plasma transfusions have been used clinically in the management of neonates with failure of passive transfer. No studies have evaluated the effect of IV serum transfusions on serum IgG concentrations in dairy calves with inadequate transfer of passive immunity.

Hypothesis: A commercially available serum product will increase serum immunoglobulin concentration in calves with inadequate transfer of colostral immunoglobulins.

Animals: Thirty-two Jersey and Jersey-Holstein cross calves with inadequate colostral transfer of immunoglobulins (serum total protein <5.0 g/L).

Methods: Thirty-two calves were randomly assigned to either control (n = 15) or treated (n = 17) groups. Treated calves received 0.5 L of a pooled serum product IV. Serum IgG concentrations before and after serum transfusion were determined by radial immunodiffusion.

Results: Serum protein concentrations increased from time 0 to 72 hours in both control and transfused calves and the difference was significant between the control and treatment groups (P < .001). Mean pre- and posttreatment serum IgG concentrations in control and transfused calves did not differ significantly. Median serum IgG concentrations decreased from 0 to 72 hours by 70 mg/dL in control calves and increased over the same time interval in transfused calves by 210 mg/dL. The difference was significant between groups (P < .001). The percentage of calves that had failure of immunoglobulin transfer 72 hours after serum transfusion was 82.4%.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Serum administration at the dosage reported did not provide adequate serum IgG concentrations in neonatal calves with inadequate transfer of colostral immunoglobulins.