Friday, February 26, 2016

Navel Infections and Colostrum Feeding

 Calves with higher levels of passive transfer of antibodies had a lower rate of navel infections. 

The calves for this study came from a commercial dairy in New York State. The dairy dipped navels on all calves. The umbilical infection rate among the 141 calves was 29.9 percent. 

Navel infection included: (1) pain at navel, (2) presence of fistula with drainage, (3) diameter of umbilical stalk >30mm, (4) diameter of umbilical stalk increased size as compared to a prior evaluation of >10mm, (5) diameter of urachus of calves older than 2 days >10mm, (6) diameter of umbilical artery >15mm, and (7) umbilical vein diameter >25mm. Note that this definition is clearly much more detailed than the average calf care person's observational procedures.

 The overall failure of passive transfer was 16.4 percent.

Reference: Wieland, M. and Others, "Umbilical cord care: effects on navel involution, calf health and growth."  Bovine Practitioner, September, 2015, p. 228.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thawing and Warming Colostrum

At a dairy meeting in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Thursday this week (February 18, 2016) we got on the topic of freezing and thawing colostrum.

Several of the dairy producers attending had never frozen colostrum. Others had unfavorable experiences with frozen colostrum - it took much, much too long to thaw.

We talked about planning to freeze colostrum in containers that will allow thawing at a reasonable rates. We all agreed that using four-quart containers (one gallon jugs) was not a good choice - too long to freeze and way, way too long to thaw.

A number of those attending were not aware of the risk of cooking antibodies (that is, denaturing them) if the thawing and warming water was too hot.

So, we reviewed the 130F (55C) threshold for this water. I explained that as antibodies are heated close to 140F they get cooked - no longer can act as an antibody.

Thus, 130F threshold has a build-in safety factor and can be used with employees and anyone else that is not too skilled at calf care.

Before we left the topic I reminded the folks that when freezing colostrum the lowest bacteria counts will be achieved by chilling it rapidly after collection before placing it into the freezer.

I showed them pictures of ways to rapidly chill colostrum to 60F (16C) within 30 minutes after collection so it is ready to go into the freezer. We also reviewed what happens (growth of bacteria) if warm (cow body temperature) colostrum goes directly into a freezer. For more on this chilling process with pictures click HERE.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Colostrum Replacer Product Review

A veterinary supply company in their Winter 2016 issue "Veterinary Update" included a two-page colostrum replacer product review. Click HERE to go to the review. 

The review includes product characteristics:
  • USDA Licensed (yes/no)
  • IgG claim (g/package)
  • Globulin protein (g/package)
  • Crude Fat (%)
  • E. coli K99 Antibody
  • Bovine Maternal Colostru origin (yes/no)
  • Bovine Milk-based (yes/no)
  • Bovine Serum based (yes/no)
  • Colostral Fat (No Additives) (yes/no)
The products reviewed are from:

The product review appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of Veterinary Update, pp 18-19 and is reproduced with permission from MWI Animal Health. Providing this review is not an endorsement by Attica Veterinary Associates, P.C., of the veterinary supply company, MWI Animal Health.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning and disinfecting is the title of the February issue of the calf management newsletter, Calving Ease, now posted at the website. Click HERE to go there. 

The bullet-point list is here:
·        Why do feeding equipment and calf pens need to be cleaned?
·        Key points for effective cleaning.
·        Why do we disinfect feeding equipment and calf pens?
·        Key points for effective disinfecting.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Short Checklist on Preventing Pneumonia

We all like checklists. We all like short checklists. This one has a nice short bullet-list of reminders for busy calf managers. The link is Enjoy.

Their summary:
  In summary, calves must be kept in a clean, dry and well-ventilated environment. Four quarts of colostrum must be offered to the calves within 6 hours of life, the sooner the better. The feeding program must be constant and provide the right amounts of nutrients to the calves. The bedding must be deep to minimize heat loss. The diagnosis of sick animals must be quick and efficient. Calves must be kept in small groups. The farmer must keep things simple, stresses must be minimal, and the changes in feeding program, housing, and group must be gradual.