Article Text

Vaccination of cows with clostridial antigens and passive transfer of clostridial antibodies from bovine colostrum to lambs
  1. MJ Clarkson,
  2. WB Faull and
  3. JB Kerry

Abstract

Two Friesian cows were used to attempt to produce colostrum containing a high concentration of clostridial antibodies which could be fed to newborn lambs in order to passively transfer immunity to diseases caused by clostridia. One cow was given a commercial multicomponent clostridial sheep vaccine in two successive pregnancies and the second cow in one pregnancy. The first cow produced a low concentration of epsilon antitoxin (Clostridium perfringens, type D) in its blood and colostrum after the first course of three injections of vaccine. A higher concentration was produced by cow 2 after a course of six injections and by cow 1 after a further course of four injections in its next pregnancy. Two hundred ml of colostrum from cow 1 (after the second course of vaccine) was given to 12 newborn colostrum-deprived lambs. All showed a high concentration of antitoxin 48 hours later. The lambs were actively immunised by injections of the same clostridial vaccine at three and nine weeks or six and 12 weeks old and all produced sufficient antitoxin to protect up to slaughter at 24 weeks. It is concluded that colostrum from cows vaccinated with sheep clostridial antigens can be fed to protect lambs passively.

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