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Evaluation of a blend of botanicals, prebiotic, and organic selenium on Cryptosporidium naturally infected dairy calves.

B. Medina



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Evaluation of a blend of botanicals, prebiotic, and organic selenium on Cryptosporidium naturally infected dairy calves.
N. Ruest1, B. Medina*2, A. L. Wagner2, I. D. Girard2. 1Clinique V�t�rinaire Centre du Quebec (CVCQ) Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, QC, Canada, 2Probiotech International Inc St-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada.

Cryptosporidium (C. parvum) infection can increase intestinal permeability and diarrhea in neonatal dairy calves. Consumer cultures interest in animal welfare and scrutiny of prophylactic drugs is growing; and thus, a natural program was evaluated on a commercial dairy farm (100 milking Holstein cows). Throughout consecutive births, female calves were pairwise allocated into 2 groups: no program (CTL, n = 15) vs. treated (VHP, n = 16) with a veterinary health product (New-Start - Probiotech International Inc.) at 10 g/calf/d mixed into milk meals for the first month of life. New Start is a proprietary blend consisting of 1.335 ppm Se from a selenized yeast, MOS, Yucca schidigera, Vitis vinifera, and essential oils. At d2 and 30 of age, heart girth method was used to estimate calf live weight (LW) with a measuring tape. At d6, 9, 12, 15 18 and 30 of age, diarrhea scores were performed and fecal samples collected. C. parvum excretion was analyzed using the optical density method from fecal samples. Haptoglobin concentration (HAP, n = 6 per group) was completed at d2 and 14 of age by an ELISA kit. Statistical analysis was performed in SAS using the MIXED procedure with repeated measures with day, treatment (trt) and the interaction as the fixed effects. There was a day � trt interaction (P < 0.001) on LW via heart girth which was due to day (P < 0.001) as trt were not different (P > 0.28) at d0 (CTL: 50.6; VHP: 53 � 1.6kg) or 30 (CTL: 64.3; VHP: 65.1 � 1.6kg). C. parvum excretion peaked at d9 in both groups; however, VHP (0.60 � 0.05DO) excretion was less (P < 0.001) than CTL (0.87 � 0.05DO). Although there was no effect (P > 0.05) of trt, day or the interaction on HAP, when applied to a commonly used reference interval range of 0 to 0.5g/L, CTL (d2: 0.54; d14: 0.48 � 0.17g/L) HAP approached the upper limit, but VHP did not (d2: 0.23; d14: 0.25 � 0.17g/L) regardless of day. Diarrhea scores were not impacted (P > 0.05) by day, trt or the interaction, nor did they support the HAP and C. parvum excretion results. Additional research with larger population is warranted to confirm the observations on C. parvum excretion.

Keywords: dairy calf, cryptosporidiosis prevention, natural alternatives.