Abstract #T123

# T123
Effects of long-term postbiotic supplementation on dairy heifer calves: Health status and wound healing after dehorning.
M. Rovai*1, L. Guifarro1, A. A. K. Salama2, 1Dairy and Food Science Department, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, 2Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

The aim was to assess the health status of calves supplemented with a postbiotic (Probisan) from birth to wk 18. The Calf Health Scorer App (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI) was used to monitor health status in control (CON; n = 35) and Probisan-supplemented calves (PRO; n = 35). The scoring was based on a scale of 0 to 3 for general health parameters (0 = normal; 3 = very abnormal), fecal consistency (0 = normal, 3 = watery feces), nasal discharge (0 = normal, 3 = mucopurulent discharged), and cough (0 = normal, 3 = repeated spontaneous coughs). At 43 ± 2 d, calves were dehorned and the wound status was evaluated 10 and 20 d later using a customized numerical score of 1 to 3, where 1 = no infection, 2 = inflammation and 3 = infection. The FREQ procedure and a logistic model of SAS 9.4 was used to analyze the data. Diarrhea (score ≥2; loose feces but stays on top of bedding) was the most frequent disease observed with 13 and 12 cases at 13 ± 1.9 and 11 ± 1.2 d old for CON and PRO groups, respectively. Only one calf from each group had repeated occasional spontaneous coughs (score 3) and received 4 d of treatment to prevent pneumonia. One CON calf that presented diarrhea also had ear infection at 3 mo of age. The average dehorning wound score was greater (P < 0.05) in CON than in PRO calves at d 10 (1.77 vs. 1.38; SEM = 0.13) and d 20 (1.51 vs. 1.18; SEM = 0.11) after the procedure. After 10 d of dehorning, almost 50% of the CON calves presented either wound inflammation or infection (20.0% score 2, and 28.6% score 3), while only 27% of PRO calves suffered wound healing problems (14.7% score 2, and 11.8% score 3). At d 20, PRO calves had lower percentages of score 2 (5.9 vs 14.3%) and score 3 (6.0 vs 17.1%) compared with CON calves. The lack of difference in medical issues at early age (d 11–13) would be because the postbiotic supplement needs longer time (few weeks) to exert its positive effects. The better wound healing after dehorning in PRO calves suggests improved response of postbiotic-supplemented calves to stressful conditions. Study supported by Pentabiol, Spain.

Key Words: calf, inflammation, postbiotics