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Comparison of fecal bacterial populations in diarrheic and healthy Holstein dairy calves from multiple farms in southeastern Pennsylvania.

M. Leibstein

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06-22-2020

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Abstract:

M71
Comparison of fecal bacterial populations in diarrheic and healthy Holstein dairy calves from multiple farms in southeastern Pennsylvania.
M. Hennessy1, N. Indugu1, B. Vecchiarelli1, L. Redding1, C. Pappalardo1, M. Leibstein*2, J. Toth1, S. Garapati3, D. Pitta1. 1University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Kennett Square, PA, 2Oceanside High School Oceanside, NY, 3Drexel University Philadelphia, PA.

A better understanding of the difference in the microbiome between diarrheic and healthy calves has the potential to lead to better treatment and prevention strategies for calf diarrhea. In this study, fecal samples were obtained from 10 pairs of Holstein dairy calves on 7 different farms. At each farm, 1—3 diarrheic calves (DC group) were selected (ages: 2—17 d old at sampling time) and then an age-matched (within 5 d) healthy calf (HC group) was selected as a control. Fecal samples were extracted for genomic DNA, PCR-amplified for the 16S rDNA bacteria gene, sequenced on the Illumina MiSeq platform, and analyzed using ����QIIME2. Number of observed species and distribution of species were similar between groups, with the DC group showing a slightly lower number of observed species and a higher Shannon diversity index than the HC group. There was a significant difference (P < 0.05) between farms but not between groups on unweighted UniFrac analysis; no difference was found on weighted UniFrac analysis between groups. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were the most prevalent phyla in all samples, with similar proportions in both groups; Fusobacteria were more prevalent in the DC group whereas Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were more prevalent in the HC group. At the genus level, Prevotella and Faecalibacterium were found to be significantly (P < 0.05) different between the sick and healthy calves, with Prevotella being more prevalent in the DC group and Faecalibacterium being more prevalent in the HC group. Bacteroides was the most prevalent genus in both groups. The next most prevalent genera in the DC group were Clostridium, Dorea, Fusobacterium, and Ruminococcaceae while the next most prevalent genera in the HC group were Lactobacillus, Ruminococcaceae, Faecalibacterium, and Clostridium. Although differences were noted between DC and HC groups, these differences were not significant due to the differences between farms. Further studies are needed to identify differences between sick and healthy calves on individual farms.

Keywords: calf diarrhea, microbiome, bacterial community.