Validation of immunocrit as a diagnostic test to detect failure of passive transfer of immunity in hand-reared nondomestic ruminant neonates

Kimberly A. Thompson, Nadine Lamberski, Maire Rayburn, Munashe Chigerwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Domestic and nondomestic ruminant neonates with failure of passive transfer of immunity (FPI) have an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Hand-reared individuals often have a higher incidence of FPI compared with those that are dam-reared. Hand-reared, nondomestic ruminant neonates raised at zoological establishments are often fed a commercially available bovine colostrum replacer. Consequently, it is desirable to monitor for FPI using a single test that performs well across a wide range of species. The immunocrit test method has been reported to have acceptable diagnostic sensitivity for detecting FPI in dairy calves. Advantages of the immunocrit are that it is inexpensive, quick, easy to perform, non-species-specific, and only precipitates immunoglobulins. This study evaluated the ability of immunocrit to predict serum immunoglobulin levels and FPI via comparison with radial immunodiffusion (reference method). The study used 100 serum samples collected from hand-reared ruminant neonates from 29 nondomestic species, 12-120 hr old, that were fed a commercial bovine colostrum replacer at a zoological institution. Sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios for FPI were determined using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. The immunocrit cutoff point of 14% maximized sensitivity at 88.6% (95% CI, 78.7-94.9%) and specificity at 83.3% (95% CI, 65.3-94.4%). The area under the ROC curve was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.87-0.98; P < 0.001). This research demonstrates that the immunocrit test has acceptable performance in detecting FPI in a wide variety of nondomestic hand-reared ruminant neonates. Use of the immunocrit test will help improve the identification of FPI neonates and aid in the management of colostrum feeding practices of nondomestic ruminant species in captivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-633
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 23 2019


  • Colostrum
  • Hand-reared
  • Immunocrit immunoglobulin
  • Passive immunity
  • Passive transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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