Colostrum and Coliform Bacteria
I finally took time to go back into the Journal of Dairy Science to find the research report on "Influence of Colostrum on Transepithelial Movement of Escherichia coli 055." (L.D. Corley, T.E. Stanley, L.J. Bush and E.W. Jones; Journal of Dairy Science 60:1416-1421, 1977
The question? How does the presence of colostrum influence the way E. coli attach to the cells in a newborn calf's gut?
3 treatments - fluids given to colostrum-deprived calves 2 to 6 hours hold.
T1. E. coli given in saline.
T2. E. coli suspended in colostrum.
T3. E. coli given in saline 1 hour after a colostrum feeding.
T1. Numerous E. coli found in the gut tissue, especially in lymph nodes.
T2. E. coli found in lymph nodes but in lower numbers than first treatment.
T3. No E. coli found in lymph nodes in the treatment where colostrum was fed before exposure to the coliform bacteria.
Moral of the Story
Adult cow feces that get into the mouths of calves before they are fed colostrum (like Treatment #1) can result in significant colonization of the gut.
Best case is plenty of high quality CLEAN colostrum as soon after birth as possible.