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Veal calves produce less antibodies against C. perfringens alpha toxin compared to beef calves

  • Valgaeren, Bonnie
  • Pardon, Bart
  • Goossens, Evy
  • Verherstraeten, Stefanie
  • Roelandt, Sophie
  • Timbermont, Leen
  • Van Der Vekens, Nicky
  • Stuyvaert, Sabrina
  • Gille, Linde
  • Van Driessche, Laura
  • Haesebrouck, Freddy
  • Ducatelle, Richard
  • Van Immerseel, Filip
  • Deprez, Piet
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2015
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Enterotoxaemia is a disease with a high associated mortality rate, affecting beef and veal calves worldwide, caused by C. perfringens alpha toxin and perfringolysin. A longitudinal study was conducted to determine the dynamics of antibodies against these toxins in 528 calves on 4 beef and 15 veal farms. The second study aimed to determine the effect of solid feed intake on the production of antibodies against alpha toxin and perfringolysin. The control group only received milk replacer, whereas in the test group solid feed was provided. Maternal antibodies for alpha toxin were present in 45% of the veal calves and 66% of the beef calves. In beef calves a fluent transition from maternal to active immunity was observed for alpha toxin, whereas almost no veal calves developed active immunity. Perfringolysin antibodies significantly declined both in veal and beef calves. In the second study all calves were seropositive for alpha toxin throughout the experiment and solid feed intake did not alter the dynamics of alpha and perfringolysin antibodies. In conclusion, the present study showed that veal calves on a traditional milk replacer diet had significantly lower alpha toxin antibodies compared to beef calves in the risk period for enterotoxaemia, whereas no differences were noticed for perfringolysin.

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