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The effect of fecal microbiota transplants in pre-weaned dairy calves.

G. S. Slanzon

Events

06-22-2020

Abstract:

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The effect of fecal microbiota transplants in pre-weaned dairy calves.
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.

The GI tract of dairy calves contains a complex community of microorganisms that can be disrupted by GI disease. Fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) may be an alternative for restoring the GI microflora. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of FMT on the fecal microbiome in pre-weaned dairy calves on a calf ranch in the western US. FMT product was made from Salmonella negative, concentrated fecal matter obtained from healthy calves (5—24 d of age) several weeks before this study and described elsewhere. Calves (n = 151) were randomly assigned to FMT treatment groups, clinically assessed twice daily from 1 to 21 d of age, and enrolled in the trial from 4 to 12 d of age. At enrollment, calves with fecal scores ≤ 2 and no clinical illness were classified as healthy. Those with fecal scores of 3 (loose) or 4 (watery) were diagnosed with diarrhea and classified as bright-sick (BS) or depressed-sick (DS) according to their behavior. Fecal samples were collected 10 d after enrollment (13 to 21 d of age) from calves that did (n = 82) or did not (n = 69) receive FMT (35g PO SID for 3 d). The V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced from fecal samples and analyzed using the DADA2 pipeline. An ASV table was used to compare taxonomic profiles and differences were identified by LEfSe (P < 0.05; LDA score > 2). The genus Lactobacillus was abundant in healthy calves that remained healthy post-FMT. Healthy calves that remained healthy without FMT had an abundance of the family Actinomycetaceae. Healthy calves that progressed to BS without FMT had an abundance of the family Lachnospiraceae. Healthy calves that progressed to BS post-FMT had an abundance of the family Lactobacillaceae. A chi-squared test of independence examined the relationship between FMT administration and changes in clinical outcomes. The proportion of initially healthy calves that progressed to BS, DS or died did not differ by FMT administration (P = 0.14). However, BS and DS calves without FMT treatment were more likely to recover to a healthy state (p-value = 0.02), necessitating a reconsideration of the characteristics and utility of FMT in dairy calves.

Keywords: fecal microbiota transplant, calf.

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.