A high plane of nutrition can reduce the effect of Cryptosporidium parvum, commonly known as Crypto, in young dairy calves.
Calves fed a high plain of nutrition maintained hydration, recovered from diarrhea faster, grew more and had better feed efficiency than calves fed a conventional diet, according to a study recently completed at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Even when challenged with a Crypto infection, calves on a high level of nutrition actually continued to gain weight while those on a conventional ration lost weight.
In the study, 29 Holstein bull calves were randomly assigned to a conventional diet or a high plane of nutrition diet. The conventional calves received a milk replacer containing 20% protein and 20% fat. They received 1 lb of dry matter per day with 2.4 Mcals of energy/day. The high plane calves received a milk replacer that contained 28% protein and 20% fat. They received 2.5 lb. of dry matter per day, equating to 5.6 Mcals of energy per day.
On day 3 of the 21-day study, all calves were inoculated with C. parvum eggs. There was no difference between the two groups in peak or total shedding, onset of shedding or duration of shedding of the Crypto bacteria. But the high plain nutrition calves came through the disease challenge faster while continuing to gain weight.
"The results of this study clearly demonstrate that calves fed with a higher plane of nutrition are better able to handle stresses such as disease, and when faced with a challenge, continued growing," says Tom Earleywine, director of nutritional services for Land O'Lakes Animal Milk Products. --Jim Dickrell