By Dr TB Barragry PhD, MSc, MVB, MRCVS, Dip ECVPT
CALVES are an expensive commodity, and to success-fully rear healthy calves prevention of disease is a better financial bet than firefighting clinical outbreaks and attempting expensive treatment.
Boosting the general immune system together with avoidance of calf scour and pneumonia are of paramount importance to avoid negative financial impact. To ensure maximum weights at weaning two calfhood diseases must be avoided at all costs – namely calf scour and calf pneumonia.
Waiting until calf scour has occurred is too late and there may be an antibiotic resistance problem in treatment anyway. The advice is to get in early with a healthy holistic product like a proven probiotic to help the animal to help itself by providing gut health and maximum immune protection. Luckily, there is a proven and authorised product that will do this.
Provita Protect POM VPS
Provita Protect is the only proven probiotic licensed by the registration authorities for prevention of calf scours. Copious evidence-based clinical trial data, veterinary expert reports, and proof of efficacy were submitted in large masterfile dossiers to the authorities to acquire this valued marketing authorisation.
In other words, Provita Protect, uniquely, is a proven animal probiotic product, and is clearly set apart from most other probiotics in the veterinary marketplace. Protect probiotic has been shown in field trials to be as effective as antibiotics in the prevention of calf scour.
Protect was shown to result in 83 per cent reduction in scour incidence in treated calves. In addition, there was far less respiratory disease in Protect treated calves, which declined by 50 per cent. This was undoubtedly due to improved immune function.
n Less incidence of scours in calves treated with Provita Protect;
n Less incidence of respiratory disease in calves treated with Provita Protect;
n Calves heavier at weaning when they have received Provita Protect;
n Over 400 calves were used in various field trials and the aggregate weights of Provita treated calves showed an almost 10 per cent liveweight gain increase over untreated controls;
n A significant decrease in pneumonia was evidenced also in Provita treated calves. Seventeen per cent of control calves were treated for respiratory disease compared to five per cent for the Provita treated calves.
How does it work?
Provita Protect is an oral supplement that infuses com-mensal bacteria into the gut to populate it with beneficial bacteria and essentially crowd out the pathogens.
Probiotics are a source of beneficial bacteria which populate the gut of calves, thereby crowding out and displacing pathogens such as E. coli. Within the intestine there are two categories of microorganisms – beneficial microorganisms known as commensals and disease-causing pathogens. The more commensals there are the better, because they displace the pathogens and they also neutralise the toxins of the pathogens.
These probiotics also have antitoxin effects as well as preventing the binding of E. coli pathogens to the wall of the gut. Thus, given shortly after birth, Provita Protect will ensure a healthy gut which repels infection.
In addition to maintaining a healthy gut, probiotics have another very important effect. Recent science has now shown that there is ‘cross talk’ between the gut, lungs, and immunity. It is now known that a healthy gut, or microbiome, not only governs gut health, but it also governs immunity. The commensal bacteria of the gut act as an immune signalling system to the other body compartments, thereby protecting them (eg, the respiratory system).
This recent research has far-reaching positive ramifications for calf health when probiotics such as Provita Protect are used. This was evidenced in Provita Protect field trials where not only did the treated calves have less calf scour but they also had a lower incidence of calf pneumonia.
What’s interesting here is that even in young calves that receive adequate colostrum, the passively acquired immunity antibodies de-plete over a few days, and so by using Provita Protect an extra layer of immunity kicks in and covers the immunity gap in the calf shortly after birth, thus protecting it from future disease.