Effect of prebiotics on growth and health of dairy calves: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

R. Branco Lopes, C. Bernal-Cordoba, E. D. Fausak, N. Silva-Del-Rio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Prebiotic supplementation has been studied as a means to enhance growth and health in dairy calves; however, results seem to be inconsistent across studies. The first objective of the future review is to identify, summarize, appraise, and discuss the current literature on the prebiotic supplementation for dairy calves. The second objective is to evaluate the effect of prebiotic supplementation on growth and health of dairy calves. Eligible studies will be non-randomized and randomized controlled trials in English, Spanish, or Portuguese that examined the supplementation of prebiotics to dairy calves (up to 6 months of age) and reported growth or health outcomes. The main growth outcomes will be average daily gain, feed efficiency, and main health outcomes will be fecal score and diarrhea incidence. A search will be conducted in Biosis, CAB Abstracts, Medline, Scopus, and the Dissertations and Theses Database with the support of a UC Davis librarian. Two reviewers independently will screen the titles and abstracts of retrieved studies. The screening of full manuscripts will be performed by one reviewer. The data extraction will be executed based on pre-tested forms. Risk of bias will be assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2.0 tool. If feasible, a random-effects meta-analysis will be conducted. Heterogeneity will be evaluated with I2 statistic. If possible, publication bias will be investigated by using funnel plots, Begg's adjusted rank correlation, and Egger's test. The certainty of the evidence will be determined using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations) approach. The proposed review will contribute to the current knowledge on prebiotic supplementation for dairy calves; this information may guide management decision at the farm level and identify gaps of knowledge to be addressed in future research. The protocol is registered in Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/ar5g2/) and available in the Systematic Reviews for Animals and Food (http://www.syreaf.org/contact/).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0253379
JournalPloS one
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of prebiotics on growth and health of dairy calves: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this