Evaluation of a Bovine Commercial Colostrum Replacer and Passive Transfer in Springbok Calves (Antidorcas marsupialis)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Kimberly A. Thompson1, DVM; Nadine Lamberski2, DVM, DACVM; Philip Kass1, DVM, MPVM, PhD; Munashe Chigerwe1, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM

1University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 2San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, Escondido, CA, USA


Failure of passive transfer (FPT) is the inadequate absorption of immunoglobulins from colostrum that occurs in ruminant neonates. FPT has been shown to increase the risk of diarrhea, enteritis, septicemia, arthritis, omphalitis, pneumonia, and mortality in crias, calves, kids, and lambs.1-4 In zoologic establishments FPT can be a common occurrence in hand-raised ruminant neonates fed insufficient amounts of colostrum replacer and or poor quality colostrum replacer. The efficacy of specific colostrum replacers at achieving serum IgG concentration consistent with adequate passive transfer and tests to assess FPT have been intensely studied in domestic ruminants but few studies are available in non-domestic ruminants. This research assessed a commercially available bovine colostrum replacer’s (Land O’Lakes) ability to achieve serum immunoglobulin concentrations consistent with adequate passive transfer in springbok calves, (Antidorcas marsupialis). The hypothesis of the study was that feeding Land O’Lakes commercial bovine colostrum replacer to springbok calves at a dose of ≥4.65 g of IgG per kg of animal’s body weight will result in a proportion of neonates with adequate passive transfer similar to those that nursed maternal colostrum. The study determined the sensitivity and specificity of various tests (serum total protein, glutaraldehyde, gamma-glutamyl-transferase, globulin, and sodium sulfite) in determining passive transfer status in springbok calves. The morbidity and mortality until weaning was compared between springbok calves fed colostrum replacer and those that nursed maternal colostrum.


The authors thank the staff at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park for their help in the collection of samples and for the time they committed to provide excellent care of the calves in the study.

Literature Cited

1.  Dewell RD, Hungerford LL, Keen JE, et al. Association of neonatal serum immunoglobulin G1 concentration with health and performance in beef calves. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2006;228(6):914–921.

2.  Massimini G, Britti D, Peli A, et al. Effect of passive transfer status on preweaning growth performance in dairy lambs. J Am Vet Med. Assoc. 2006;229(1):111–115.

3.  Massimini G, Mastellone V, Britti D, et al. Effect of passive transfer status on preweaning growth performance in dairy goat kids. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007;231(12):1873–1877.

4.  Wernery U. Camelid immunoglobulins and their importance for the new-born—a review. J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet. Public Health 2001;48(8):561–568.


Speaker Information
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Kimberly A. Thompson, DVM
University of California
Davis, CA, USA

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