Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Fellow: Sabine Mann
Mentor: Daryl Nydam

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Email:; Phone: 607-253-4391
Sponsor: American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP)
Grant Number: N/A
Title: The Influence of Maternal Energy Status and Insulin Resistance on Bovine Colostrum Composition
Project Amount: $4,000
Project Period: 07/01/13-6/30/14

DESCRIPTION (Provided by Applicant): To have a healthy and productive life, calves have to receive adequate amounts of high quality maternal colostrum. This is because unlike in many mammals, passive immunity in calves is achieved by ingestion of colostral antibodies and other immune factors. The quality of colostrum can be altered in many ways. Research carried out in other species indicates that colostrum quality suffers in cases where the dam develops an insulin response disorder similar to type II diabetes in humans. Because feeding strategies in dry cows determine energy balance and insulin response of the late pregnant animal, our study aims at investigating the effect of three different levels of energy supplied in the ration during this time and their effect on the metabolic status of the animals. We will then determine how the quality of colostrum (specifically immunoglobulin G content) and the insulin content is affected by the three different planes of energy density in the drycow rations.

We hypothesize there is a similar effect in the bovine species where an altered insulin response pre partum will lower the amount of colostral antibodies. This decline in antibodies will have a detrimental effect on the newborn´s health, redisposing the calf to disease.