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Fecal microbiome profiles of pre-weaned Jersey and Holstein calves with gastrointestinal disease.

G. S. Slanzon




Fecal microbiome profiles of pre-weaned Jersey and Holstein calves with gastrointestinal disease.
G. S. Slanzon*, L. M. Parrish, S. C. Trombetta, W. M. Sischo, C. S. McConnel. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University Pullman, WA.

Gastrointestinal (GI) disease is the most common illness in pre-weaned dairy calves. The fecal microbiome composition is associated with health status, but changes in the microbiome across different levels of GI disease and different breeds remain unclear. Our objective was to associate symptoms of GI disease and breed differences with the fecal microbiome. Fecal samples were collected from 282 calves: 194 Holstein (H) and 88 Jersey (J). Health status was evaluated daily. Calves with a fecal score ≤ 2 and no clinical illness were classified as healthy. Calves with a fecal score ≥ 3 were diagnosed with GI disease and classified as bright-sick (BS) or depressed-sick (DS) according to their behavior. A total of 45 samples from healthy calves (n = 38 H, n = 7 J), 11 samples from BS calves (n = 5 H, n = 6 J), and 15 samples from DS calves (n = 6 H, n = 9 J), were randomly selected to represent different breeds, ages (4—15 d of age) and disease severity. The V3-V4 region of 16S rRNA gene was sequenced and an ASV table was used to compare taxonomic profiles. Differences were identified by LEfSe (P < 0.05; LDA score > 2). Firmicutes was identified as the most dominant phylum in calves with GI disease, and Actinobacteria in healthy calves. Healthy calves showed abundant Bifidobacteriaceae, Bacteroidaceae and Eubacteriaceae. BS calves showed abundant Listeriaceae, Clostridiaceae and Lachnospiraceae. DS calves showed abundant Lactobacillaceae, Streptococcaceae and Enterobacteriaceae. Specific breed differences included a greater abundance of Bacteroides fragilis (LDA = 4.44) in healthy Jersey calves, and Bifidobacterium longum (LDA = 5.25) in healthy Holstein calves. Lactobacillus reuteri_vaginalis (LDA = 5.02), was abundant in DS Jersey calves, and Escherichia_Shigella coli (LDA = 5.01) was abundant in DS Holstein calves. Notably, the abundance of the family Lactobacillaceae in diseased calves raises questions regarding its role in sustaining a favorable microbial balance, given that certain lactic acid bacteria have been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhea in calves and provide protective effects against opportunistic pathogens at the intestinal level.

Keywords: microbiome, calf, diarrhea.

Biography: PhD student at College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University. MSc in Animal Science at University of Sao Paulo/ESALQ, Brazil. My research is focused on dairy calf health and wellbeing.