The incidence of calf mortality until weaning at eight weeks of age was studied in 321 Jersey and 390 Friesian calves of which 14 Jersey and 72 Friesian were colostrum-deprived. Rotavirus was determined by the electron microscopic examination of faeces and serum gammaglobulin was assessed qualitatively by the sodium sulphite turbidity test.
Rotavirus in faeces of calves at the time of entry had no effect on mortality rate. There was a higher mortality rate in calves having low serum gammaglobulin levels compared with calves showing evidence of satisfactory uptake of colostrum antibodies. Thus, in order to eliminate this effect, comparison of mortality rates between Jersey and Friesian breeds were done within high gammaglobulin, hypogammaglobulin and agammaglobulin groups. A significant difference between breeds was seen only in the last group of colostrum-deprived calves.

W. VS Wijeratne

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XI. Genetics of reproduction, lactation, growth, adaptation, disease, and parasite resistance., , 677–682, 1986
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