Passive immunity transfer in calves fed with colostrum from dams with subclinical mastitis

ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the influence of intramammary infection under the passive immunity transfer in newborn calves. Holstein cows (n=13) were monitored at delivery, and milked to obtain sterile colostrum samples (n=52) for microbiological examination. The newborn calves received 6 liters of colostrum from their dams up to 12 hours after birth. Blood samples were harvested before (D0) and after (D2) colostrum feeding. The passive immune transfer was evaluated by biochemical tests, electrophoresis and leukogram. Calves were distributed according to absence (IB-) or presence (IB+) of mammary gland infection in one or more quarters. All colostrum samples (n=52) were negative for fungal culture. Eight dams (8; 61%) had bacterial growth in one or more mammary quarter. In relation to mammary gland unit, bacterial growth was observed in 21.15% (11/52) of the colostrum samples, with predominance of coagulase negative staphylococcal infections. Statistical differences were not found among variables according to the groups. According to the experimental moments, the evaluated parameters (total protein, albumin, globulins, GGT and beta and alpha electrophoretic) increased after colostrum intake. Subclinical mastitis did not influence the passive immune transfer in Holstein calves evaluated by biochemical tests, electrophoresis or leukogram.