Background: Intravenous plasma administration has been recommended in healthy or sick calves with failure of passive immunity. Hypothesis: IV administered plasma-derived immunoglobulin G (IgG) undergoes increased catabolism as reflected by a rapid decrease in serum IgG concentration with an increase in fecal IgG concentrations within 48 h. Animals: Thirty newborn Jersey calves. Fifteen were fed colostrum (CL group) and 15 were given bovine plasma IV (PL group). Materials and Methods: Randomized clinical trial. Calves in the CL group were fed 3 L of colostrum once, by oroesophageal tubing. Calves in the PL group were given plasma IV at a dosage of 34 mL/kg. Serum and fecal samples were collected at 0 h, 6 h, 12 h, 48 h, 5 d, and 7 d. Serum and fecal IgG concentrations were determined by radial immunodiffusion. Results: Calves in the CL group maintained serum IgG concentrations consistent with adequate transfer of immunity (≥1,000 mg/dL) throughout the study period. Calves in the PL group achieved median IgG concentrations of ≥1,000 mg/dL at 6 h but the concentrations were <1,000 mg/dL by 12 h. Calves in the PL group were 5 times more likely to experience mortality compared to the CL group (hazard ratio = 5.01). Fecal IgG concentrations were not different between the 2 groups during the first 48 h (P > .05). Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Catabolism of plasma derived IgG occurs rapidly during the first 12 h after transfusion. Fecal excretion did not explain the fate of the plasma derived IgG.
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