Provita visited the farm and assessed all aspects of current calf health management finding that hygiene was good, cows were vaccinated and calves were getting plenty of colostrum soon after birth. Colostrum quality was assessed and found to be variable but acceptable in most cases. Provita’s Tommy Armstrong therefore concluded that the colostrum hygiene should be tested. Results showed that the colostrum itself was too high in bacteria and it represented a hygiene risk to the calves. At best, the colostrum antibodies were being used up fighting the bacteria it was introducing itself! Indeed a recent survey in Northern Ireland by AFBI reported that some colostrum contained up to 17,000,000 cfu/ml of bacteria. Provita in-house testing shows that both leaving colostrum at ambient temperature and thawing it out after freezing stimulates bacterial growth.
Provita recommended that Cavan only used fresh or instantly refrigerated colostrum and give every calf Provita Protect, the only medicinally licensed probiotic for the prevention of calf scour and Provita Calf Colostrum powder 300g. He began this protocol towards the end of calving with good results visible so he continued for this calving season to help suppress the build-up of pathogens. Cavan will give all calves Protect and Provita Calf Colostrum first, the cow’s own colostrum is given in the second feed, and this is especially convenient at night when around 50% of his cows calve.
Colostrum is vital for providing passive immunity but it gets used up quickly which can cause an immunity gap at age 5 to 10 days. This can be made worse depending on the challenges the calves face. Provita products and protocols help to protect calves during this high-risk period, giving more protection, which enables it to overcome this risk period and develop a stronger active immunity.
“We’ve had 98% less scour since using the Provita products and recommended protocol, even though number of calves born increased by 30%! The calves are much livelier and healthier this year. Since we started calving we have only had one calf take a mild dose of scour. I cannot believe how well it has worked; it almost seems too good to be true. We have also noticed the benefits it has had in preventing pneumonia. I’d highly recommend anyone to try Provita Protect who has problems with calf scour” stated Cavan.
Provita Protect Trial Data*
The clinical expert report for Protect shows it works as effectively as an antibiotic for calf scour. Also, when calves suffering from pneumonia were observed, they recovered quicker due to the immune stimulation effect of the probiotics.
- Reduce calf scour by 83% (see figure 1)
- The three strains of lactic acid forming bacteria used in Protect were shown to be inhibitory to eight pathogens common to farm animals
- Improved growth rates and body condition by 31%
- Protection against nutritional scours for bucket and teat fed calves
- Use at birth, for bought-in calves and at times of stress
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