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Role of colostrum in the aetiology of bovine neonatal pancytopenia

A. Friedrich, M. Büttner, G. Rademacher, W. Klee, B. K. Weber, M. Müller, A. Carlin, A. Assad, A. Hafner-Marx, C. M. Sauter-Louis

ALTHOUGH the aetiology of bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP) remains unknown, field observations have led to the hypothesis that it may be transmitted to calves via colostrum. This study investigated the effect of feeding neonatal calves with colostrum from dams that had previously produced BNP-affected offspring.

Six experimental and six control calves were included in the study. The dams of all calves were healthy and from dairy farms in which BNP had never occurred. All calvings were supervised to ensure that calves did not drink colostrum directly from their dams; colostrum was provided to all calves in nipple drinkers. Experimental calves were fed one meal of colostrum from cows that had previously produced a calf with BNP, while the control calves received colostrum from their own dams. The calves were monitored clinically for four weeks. Blood samples were taken before and at intervals following ingestion of colostrum. Experimental calves were examined postmortem.

Five of six experimental calves showed a decrease …

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