CVS Farm practices offer subsidised ImmunIGY Bovine IgG test to assess colostrum protocols - Veterinary Practice
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CVS Farm practices offer subsidised ImmunIGY Bovine IgG test to assess colostrum protocols

The novel ImmunIGY test rapidly and reliably detects the level of antibodies present in calves up to 42 days of age

All fifteen CVS Farm vet practices in the UK are offering a subsidised new ImmunIGY Bovine IgG test throughout 2024 to assess the effectiveness of farm colostrum protocols.                              

Calves are born without any antibodies, the key to protection from disease. They must receive enough good-quality colostrum within the first few hours of life to supply them with these vital antibodies. This is called passive transfer (PT).

It is typically thought that dairy calves are most at risk of failure of PT. However, in a third of British beef suckler herds, at least 20 percent of calves fail to receive any colostral antibodies.

The novel ImmunIGY test rapidly and reliably detects the level of antibodies present in calves up to 42 days of age. Previous tests have only been reliable up to around 7 days, therefore the ImmunIGY test offers a much bigger window.

There are proven benefits to measuring the success of PT. Farms that regularly monitor it are shown to have much better success rates.

Correct colostrum delivery has proven long-term impacts on production. It is not just the initial few months of a calf’s life where it is key. Calves moved into rearing units with good PT scores grew 10 percent faster and used 46 percent less antibiotics over their lifetime. It can also be used to identify calves that are likely to need a bit more nutritional support.

CVS Farm veterinary surgeons will run the simple ImmunIGY Bovine IgG test by taking blood samples acquired via a lancet, an easy sampling technique. Results will then be run in practice using a simple lateral flow device test that delivers a rapid result. Tests will give a direct measure of IgG with fully quantitative reporting of IgG levels in mg/mL, so there is no need to rely on an estimate from total plasma proteins.

An investigation into the cause of the failure of passive transfer (FTP) will then be run for each individual farm, looking at multifactorial causes of nutrition, feed space, housing conditions and dystocia. Farm vets will also discuss the results of each farm’s tests with an aim to improve the level of PT in future calving seasons.

For farmers producing and rearing calves, the routine monitoring of IgG status will identify higher-risk individuals and enable management changes. This will reduce the risk and incidence of neonatal disease, the time and labour spent treating sick calves, antibiotic treatments and disease-related lifelong productivity impacts, as well as support the achievement of productivity targets.

Steven Carragher, Quality Improvement Farm Lead for CVS and Senior Veterinary Surgeon at Alnorthumbria Vets, said: “We are investing a £10,000 CVS Research Award in this scheme to help our farmers. FPT in calves was selected as it is a fundamental factor in the success of beef suckler and dairy calf rearing systems and has a major impact on disease prevalence. Improving PT will have an impact on calf health, welfare and productivity. Additionally, there are One Health implications as it aims to reduce overall antibiotic use. We urge farmers to give us a call at the surgery and speak to one of our vets if they are interested in finding out more.”

For further information please email Harriet Rodgers at CVS Group or telephone 0788 5977099.

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