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As puppies are born with very low immunoglobulin concentrations, they rely on passive immune transfer from ingested colostrum to acquire a protective immunity during the first few weeks of life. The purpose of this study was to describe the timing of gut closure in canine neonates. Twenty-two Beagle puppies received 3 ml of standardized canine colostrum at 0, 4, 8, 12, 16 or 24 h after birth using a feeding tube. Blood immunoglobulins G (IgG, M and A) were assayed 0, 4 and 48 h after colostrum ingestion. IgG absorption rate was significantly affected by the time of colostrum administration, and the IgG concentrations in puppies serum 48 h after administration were significantly higher when colostrum was ingested at 0-4 h of age than at 8-12 h or 16-24 h (1.68 ± 0.4, 0.79 ± 0.07 and 0.35 ± 0.08 g/l, respectively; p < 0.001). In the canine species, gut closure seems thus to begin as early as 4-8 h after birth and to be complete at 16-24 h. Consequently, this phenomenon appears to occur earlier in puppies than in most other species.
Timing of the Intestinal Barrier Closure in Puppies
S Chastant-Maillard
, L Freyburger
*, E Marcheteau
, S Thoumire
, JF Ravier
and K Reynaud
INRA, UMR 1225, IHAP, Toulouse, France;
´de Toulouse, INP-ENVT, UMR 1125, IHAP, Toulouse, France;
Ecole Nationale Ve
´rinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France;
INRA, UMR 1198 INRA/ENVA Developmental Biology and Reproduction, Jouy-en
Josas, France;
ENVA, UMR 1198 INRA/ENVA Developmental Biology and Reproduction, Maisons-Alfort, France;
MERIAL, Lyon, France
As puppies are born with very low immunoglobulin concen-
trations, they rely on passive immune transfer from ingested
colostrum to acquire a protective immunity during the first few
weeks of life. The purpose of this study was to describe the
timing of gut closure in canine neonates. Twenty-two Beagle
puppies received 3 ml of standardized canine colostrum at 0, 4,
8, 12, 16 or 24 h after birth using a feeding tube. Blood
immunoglobulins G (IgG, M and A) were assayed 0, 4 and
48 h after colostrum ingestion. IgG absorption rate was
significantly affected by the time of colostrum administration,
and the IgG concentrations in puppies serum 48 h after
administration were significantly higher when colostrum was
ingested at 04 h of age than at 812 h or 1624 h (1.68 ±0.4,
0.79 ±0.07 and 0.35 ±0.08 g/l, respectively; p <0.001). In the
canine species, gut closure seems thus to begin as early as 4
8 h after birth and to be complete at 1624 h. Consequently,
this phenomenon appears to occur earlier in puppies than in
most other species.
In puppies, mortality rates from birth to weaning range
from 20% to 40%, with more than half of the cases
occurring during the first 3 weeks after birth. Infection,
especially by E. coli,Bordetella bronchiseptica and Strep-
tococcus sp, is identified as the cause of at least 30% of the
deaths (Nielen et al. 1998; Scha
¨fer-Somi et al. 2005).
As puppies are nearly agammaglobulinaemic at birth
(Bouchard et al. 1992), absorption of colostral antibodies
is crucial for neonatal and paediatric immunity. Puppies
rely on colostrum as the main source of circulating
antibodies during the first 36 weeks of their life. In
bovine, equine and porcine species, the passive immune
transfer to the newborn through colostrum is one of the
key elements to control morbidity and mortality rates until
weaning (Levieux 1984; Besser and Gay 1994). Optimiza-
tion of the passive transfer of ingested immunoglobulins
requires that ingestion of colostrum occurs within the first
hours after birth (24 h for calves, for example): the ability
of gut to absorb ingested immunoglobulins decreases with
time elapsed from birth (Stott et al. 1979a). This phenom-
enon, known as intestinal barrier closure (Lecce and
Morgan 1962), is not conclusively timed yet in the canine
species, despite its interest for puppies’ management. The
aim of this study was thus to describe the kinetics of the
intestinal barrier closure in puppies.
Materials and Methods
All bitches used in this study were housed in an
experimental kennel. They were routinely vaccinated
against distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parain-
fluenza and specifically vaccinated against canine her-
pesvirus 1 within 10 days after insemination and at
30 days after insemination (EURICAN HERPES;
Merial, Lyon, France).
Mammary secretions from five Beagle bitches were
manually collected 1 or 2 days after whelping. They
were pooled, aliquoted (3 ml samples) and frozen (20°C)
until distribution.
Four Beagle bitches (aged 20, 22 months, 4 and 5 years,
respectively, and different from those on which colostrum
was collected) were inseminated with the sperm collected
from two Beagle males of proven fertility. Ovulation time
was determined through regular blood progesterone
assays and transabdominal ultrasound examinations.
Insemination was performed with fresh sperm 48 and
72 h after ovulation. Sixty or 61 days after ovulation, 22
puppies were delivered by elective caesarean section with
no sign of anoxia. Puppies were weighted at birth. Every
4 h, they were fed with artificial milk using a baby bottle
(Mixol, Laboratoire Moureau, Luzarches, France) pre-
viously assayed for canine immunoglobulins (containing
no detectable canine IgG, IgM or IgA following the
method below), except for one meal when they were given
3 ml frozen/thawed colostrum via an orogastric tube.
Depending on the experimental group, colostrum was
given at birth (H0 group; n =4), four (H4; n =3), eight
(H8; n =3), 12 (H12; n =4), 16 (H16; n =3) or 24 (H24;
n=5) hours after birth. Blood (1 ml) was collected from
the jugular vein into plain tubes immediately before
colostrum administration and then at 4 and 48 h after it.
After the second blood sampling, puppies were allowed to
suck from their dam.
Immunoglobulins (Ig) assay
Canine IgG, IgM and IgA were assayed in duplicate on
sera, on artificial milk and on colostrum (Dog IgG-,
IgM-, IgA-Quantitation Kits; Bethyl Lab, Montgomery,
AL, USA). IgG absorption rates were calculated for
each group as the ratio between the amount of IgG
contained in 3 ml colostrum (IgG concentration in
colostrum 93/1000 g) and the amount of IgG in the
puppies bloodstream 48 h after colostrum administra-
tion (blood volume 9(1%PCV) 9serum IgG con-
©2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
Reprod Dom Anim 47 (Suppl. 6), 190–193 (2012); doi: 10.1111/rda.12008
ISSN 0936–6768
Statistical analysis
Data were pooled (H0 +H4: group H04n=7;
H8 +H12: group H812 n =7; H16 +H24: group
H1624 n =8) and analysed through the non-paramet-
ric KruskalWallis and MannWhitney tests. Results
are expressed as mean ±SEM, and differences were
considered significant when p <0.05.
Weights at birth were not significantly different between
groups (mean ±SEM: 272 ±8.7 g, n =22). Before
colostral administration, circulating immunoglobulin
concentrations were low (0.3 ±0.01 g/l IgG,
0.1 ±0.01 g/l IgM, non-detectable IgA) and not differ-
ent between groups. The colostrum fed contained
17.8 g/l IgG, 1.1 g/l IgM and 20.6 g/l IgA.
Four hours after administration, a significant increase
in blood IgG concentration was observed for group H0
4 and H812, but not for H1624 (Fig. 1). IgG
concentrations at 4 h after administration were affected
by the age at colostrum ingestion (p <0.001). IgG
concentrations were significantly higher in group H04
than in group H812 (1.68 ±0.4 and 0.79 ±0.07 g/l,
respectively; p =0.007), and higher in group H812
than in group H1624 (0.35 ±0.08 g/l; p =0.006).
Within groups, IgG concentrations were not signifi-
cantly different between 4 and 48 h after administration,
and the same effect of the age at colostrum administra-
tion was noticed (p <0.001; Fig. 2). Similarly, the IgG
absorption rate steadily decreased with age at colostral
administration (p <0.001), being higher in group H04
than in group H812 (29.6% ±8.2% vs 10.7% ±1.2%;
p=0.01) and higher in group H812 than in group H16
24 (2.1% ±1.1%; p =0.001; Table 1).
The same differences were observed between groups
for IgA, both at 4 and 48 h after colostrum adminis-
tration. At 4 h after administration, IgA concentrations
were 0.7 ±0.3 g/l for group H04, 0.4 ±0.2 g/l for
group H812 and 0.1 ±0.0 g/l for group H1624
(p <0.05). Serum IgA concentrations decreased
between 4 and 48 h after colostrum administration.
Conversely, IgM concentrations increased over the
same period. The time elapsed from birth and colostrum
ingestion influenced IgM only at 4 h post-ingestion
(p =0.01) and not at 48 h.
Over the 22 puppies studied, 19 reached the age of
2 months without any morbidity.
Because of the endothelial structure of the canine
placenta, circulating Ig concentrations are quite low in
the neonates at birth. In this study, serum IgG concen-
tration before colostral ingestion was approximately
0.3 g/l, that is, only 1.5% of the IgG concentration 48 h
after ingestion in the optimal conditions (H04). In the
literature, the placental transfer was found to account
for 17% of the total Ig concentration in the canine
neonate, immunoglobulins being acquired by colostrum
ingestion (Poffenbarger et al. 1991; Bouchard et al.
1992). Transfer of colostral Ig from the colostrum to
the blood is the result of a transient, non-selective
macromolecular transport across the small intestinal
absorptive epithelium, involving uptake by apical
tubules and micropinocytotic vesicles and secretion at
the basement membrane. The absorbed Ig molecules
enter the bloodstream with the intestinal lymph via the
thoracic duct. Absorption rates vary among species and
are 525% in piglets and 890% in calves, depending on
the calculation method (Levieux 1984). In the present
study, the maximal absorption rate at birth was
approximately 40%. Our calculation method may have
resulted in a lower absorption rate than actual as we
presumed that the circulating volume was not modified
by colostrum/milk administration, and we neglected any
eventual extravascular transfer of Ig.
The intestinal epithelium of the newborn retains the
ability to absorb macromolecules for only a few hours.
This ‘gut closure’ phenomenon, defined as ‘the cessation
of absorption of macromolecules from gut to blood in
neonates’ (Lecce and Morgan 1962), seems to occur
earlier in puppies than in calves or in piglets. In piglets,
it is described at 2436 h of age (Lecce and Morgan
1962). In calves, the reduction in the absorption to half
its efficacy at birth is observed to be between 8 and 20 h,
generally approximately 12 h (Stott et al. 1979a; Levi-
Hours aŌer colostrum administraƟon
Blood IgG concentraƟon (g/L)
H+0 H+4 H+48
Fig. 1. Blood IgG concentration in puppies according to the age at
colostrum administration (H0 n =4; H4 n =3; H8 n =3; H12 n =4;
H16 n =3; H24 n =5). IgG were assayed 0, 4 and 48 h after
n = 6
Blood IgG
concentraƟon (g/L)
Age at colostrum administraƟon
n = 7
n = 8
Fig. 2. IgG concentration at 48 h after administration according to
the age at colostrum ingestion. Box plot analysis. Q1: upper quartile;
Q3: lower quartile; min: minimum; max: maximum
Intestinal Barrier Closure in Puppies 191
©2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
eux 1984); in comparison, in our study, the same
reduction by 50% was obtained already at 4 h after
birth in puppies (Table 1). In cats, seems to be approx-
imately 16 h after birth, that is, also earlier than in most
other domestic species (Casal et al. 1996).
In calves, mean closure time was approximately 25
26 h and similar for IgG, IgM and IgA (Stott et al.
1979a). In our experiment, as IgM concentrations
continued to increase between 4 and 48 h after birth,
it was not possible to conclude about the time of closure
for this Ig class, but it seems to be later than 24 h after
birth. This finding is similar to what was observed in
kittens, in which serum IgM concentration steadily
increased to plateau only at approximately day 60 of life
(Casal et al. 1996). Closure for IgA occurs approxi-
mately 1624 h after birth, as administration at that
time was followed by no increase in serum IgA
concentration. In puppies as in kittens (Casal et al.
1996), IgA levels peak at colostrum ingestion and
gradually decline. IgA have been shown to transudate
reversely from blood through the epithelium of the
respiratory tract (Salmon et al. 2009).
Gut closure seems to occur earlier in puppies than in
other species, except for kittens. Because of ethical
considerations, puppies were not starved until colos-
trum administration but fed with milk devoid of
canine Ig. Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that
feeding may have hastened gut closure by a few hours,
as demonstrated in piglets, lambs and calves (Stott et al.
1979a). In calves, feeding at birth shortens the Ig
absorption period by 12 h compared with calves fed for
the first time at 24 h (2124 h vs 3133 h) (Stott et al.
1979a). Therefore, our experimental design does not
exactly fit the situation encountered by puppies starved
from colostrum because of their mother’s death, in
which the gut closure may be delayed by complete
starvation. The effect of mammary suckling versus
feeding with baby bottle or feeding tube on absorption
has also to be examined, as suckled calves have higher
absorption rates (Stott et al. 1979b). Presence of dam or
occurrence of stressors may also influence the timing of
gut closure (Selman et al. 1971). The exact mechanism
of gut closure has yet to be elucidated, but it probably
reflects a combination of exhaustion of pinocytotic
capability and enterocyte replacement by a mature
population of epithelial cells, together with development
of intestinal enzymes, increased stomach acidity and
installation of digestive flora. What determines the shift
from cells capable of pinocytosis to cells with microvilli
and enzymes is also unknown; this may relate to a role
of some hormones such as insulin, corticosteroids and
thyroxine or contact of cells with glucose at the time of
colostral ingestion (Levieux 1984).
IgG was the predominant isotype during the first days of
life of puppies as reported by Bouchard et al. (1992) and
Poffenbarger et al. (1991). IgG are key elements of the
immune protection during the early weeks of life.
Crucial for systemic protection, they also transudate
reversely into the intestinal lumen and probably
decrease intestinal virus replication (Salmon et al.
2009). This study demonstrates that the canine intestinal
barrier remains permeable to immunoglobulins mainly
during the first 12 hours after birth, but with a sharp
decrease in absorption as early as after 4 h. Therefore,
attention to maternal suckling has to be given very early
after birth for the optimization of the passive immune
transfer in puppies. Nevertheless, the minimal quantity
and quality for colostrum required to limit morbidity
and mortality remain to be determined in puppies.
The authors acknowledge Dr Alexandre Feugier (Royal Canin,
France) for his help in statistical analysis. This work was partially
funded by Merial, Lyon, France.
Conflicts of interests
All the authors disclose any financial or personal relationships with
people or organisations that could have inappropriately biased or
influenced this work.
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Table 1. Efficacy of IgG absorption according to the time elapsed from birth. Results are expressed as mean ±SEM. Percentage of IgG absorbed
is calculated at 48 h after colostrum administration
Age at colostral administration (hours after birth) 0 4 8 12 16 24
Number of puppies 3 3 3 4 3 5
IgG concentration in serum at 48 h post-colostrum administration (g/l) 2.2 ±0.7 1.2 ±0.2 0.9 ±0.1 0.7 ±0.1 0.6 ±0.1 0.2 ±0.0
Percentage of IgG absorption (%) 39.0 ±14.8 20.2 ±5.3 14.1 ±0.8 8.7 ±0.3 4.9 ±1.3 0.0 ±0.0
192 S Chastant-Maillard, L Freyburger, E Marcheteau, S Thoumire, JF Ravier and K Reynaud
©2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
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Submitted: 29 Jun 2012; Accepted: 6 Jul 2012
Author’s address (for correspondence): S
Chastant, Reproduction, Ecole Nationale
´rinaire de Toulouse, 23 Chemin des
Capelles, 31076 Toulouse Cedex 03, France.
*Present address: Vetagro-Sup Campus
´rinaire, Marcy L’ Etoile, France
Intestinal Barrier Closure in Puppies 193
©2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
... However, even if it occurs temporarily, it can lead to the manifestation of the neonatal triad, weight loss, fading, and death in the litter. In addition, it can interfere with the absorption of immunoglobulins from colostrum, as the highest rate of absorption by the newborn occurs in the first 8-12 h of birth [40]. On the other hand, some females can present permanent agalactia, and this situation is associated with disorders in the mammary glands, unresponsiveness to physiological stimuli, concomitant illness, hypocalcemia, preterm birth, and malnutrition [15,37]. ...
... The achievement of passive immunity by the neonate will depend on three main factors: the amount of colostrum ingested (which will depend on the milk production by the female, on the maternal behavior toward breastfeeding, and on the presence of the neonatal sucking reflex), the immunological quality of colostrum (i.e., its immunoglobulin concentration), and the intestinal barrier closure (ability of the neonatal digestive mucosa to absorb ingested antibodies) [39]. Closure of the intestinal barrier in the canine species begins 4-8 h after birth and is completed within 16-24 h [40]. However, after the first 12-16 h of life, the rate of IgG absorption is practically absent [39,40]. ...
... Closure of the intestinal barrier in the canine species begins 4-8 h after birth and is completed within 16-24 h [40]. However, after the first 12-16 h of life, the rate of IgG absorption is practically absent [39,40]. Thus, it is essential to ensure that the newborn has colostrum intake in the first 12 h of life, and when there is a deficit in breastfeeding and colostrum intake is not possible, a colostrum substitute should be of/fered (natural or artificial hyperimmune solutions), such as colostrum bank, commercially available colostrum substitutes, supplements based on hyperimmunized powdered egg and serum, or blood plasma from a healthy and vaccinated animal of the same species [33]. ...
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... By this passive transfer, immunoglobulins can pass the intestinal barrier of newborn animals. According to Poffenbarger et al. [33], the maximum effectiveness of absorption of colostral immunoglobulins occurs eight hours after birth and needs to be completed within 16-24 h [34]. Other authors showed that immunoglobulins cannot pass the digestive barrier beyond a 15 h deadline [35] or after the first 24 h of life [32]. ...
... Therefore, enterocytes retain their ability to absorb larger proteins if enzymatic digestion is inhibited [40]. A recent work in dogs, instead, highlighted that the absorption ability is reduced by 50% at 4 h after birth, although the absorption continues over 48 h [34]. ...
... The loss of absorption efficiency is faster in puppies (12 h) than in kittens where it happens approximately at 16 h of life [34,44]. Nevertheless, the permeability of the digestive mucous membrane during the first hours of life allows the absorption of many colostrum compounds [35]. ...
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... [3] A taxa de absorção de IgG foi na média de 30% entre o nascimento e 8h de vida (Chastant-Maillard et al., 2012). Uma quantidade de 8,05 mg absorvida corresponde a 26,8 mg de IgG ingerido. ...
... [5] A concentração mínima de colostro é 3,4 g/l (IgG ingerido x 1000/8 Chastant-Maillard et al., 2012). ...
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... At birth, and for their first weeks of life, puppies are protected by high titers of MDA. These begin to decrease starting from 8 to 12 weeks of age, allowing the development of active immunity, with large individual differences (related to bitch vaccination status, motherly instinct, colostrum quality, intake and absorption, newborn size and strength, timing of the intestinal barrier closure, etc.) [32,33,40,65,[87][88][89][90][91][92]. These MDA are considered a double-edged sword. ...
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The importance and implications of small animal neonatology were underestimated until recent times. Despite the recent increasing interest for this branch of veterinary medicine, however, perinatal mortality rates in canine and feline species remain high, representing an important challenge for the clinician. In this perspective, the prompt identification of newborns requiring additional and tailored assistance becomes a key to reduce the perinatal losses in small animals. To achieve this goal, clinical and laboratory findings must be carefully evaluated. This paper focuses on biochemical parameters and their reported influence on neonatal survival, guiding through the evaluation of canine and feline newborn laboratory analyses, with a thorough discussion about the use of different matrices in these subjects. Beside blood, other matrices, such as urines and fetal fluids proved to be interesting for the identification of possible prognostic markers, thanks also to their easy and safe collection. However, the correct reading-through the results must consider many variables such as type of delivery, anesthesia protocol in case of Caesarean section, age of the newborn at samples collection, and for blood analysis, also the type of blood, site of collection, modality of collection and storage must be considered. Notwithstanding the recent progress in literature, for most of the parameters more research is needed to define cut-off values with certainty.
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Perinatology is understood as the scientific discipline, a branch of obstetrics and pediatrics, which deals with promoting the health of the mother, foetus and new-born during the perinatal period, as well as the clinical study, diagnosis, treatment and research of their diseases. In the canine species (Canis lupus familiaris) the perinatal period is defined as the phase from the last stage of intrauterine foetal development to the end of the neonatal period. There are significant losses in the perinatal period due to mortality, which has led to important advances in knowledge about gestation, delivery, assessment of foetal maturity, prognosis of delivery, caesarean section planning and new-born assessment. In this context, perinatology is an area of canine medicine which is experiencing increasing demand. From a professional perspective, this is challenging in terms of promoting science-based breeding. Therefore, the purpose of this literature review was to review and discuss topics of this novel discipline to contribute to its better understanding.
This chapter covers aspects of immunity in relation to individuals, as well as populations of animals within the shelter, and addresses special concerns regarding the immunity of juvenile animals. Specific vaccines for dogs and cats are discussed in the context of vaccination programs designed for optimal effectiveness in the shelter environment. The chapter describes the use of serology for the evaluation of immunity. It covers diagnostic tests that may be affected by vaccination. Many of the significant, potentially deadly viral diseases, such as canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, and feline parvovirus, are “vaccine‐preventable” if animals are effectively immunized prior to exposure to the pathogen. Animals entering shelters are either: immunologically naïve and thus susceptible to infection and development of disease if exposed to pathogens; already immune as a result of natural immunization or previous vaccination; or already infected.
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Se entiende perinatología como la disciplina científica, rama de la obstetricia y de la pediatría, que se ocupa de promover durante el periodo perinatal la salud de la madre, del feto y del recién nacido, así como el estudio clínico, el diagnóstico, el tratamiento y la investigación de sus enfermedades. En la especie canina (Canis lupus familiaris) el periodo perinatal se define como la fase desde la última etapa de desarrollo fetal intrauterino hasta el final del periodo neonatal. En el periodo perinatal se producen significativas pérdidas por mortalidad, de allí que se hayan motivado importantes avances en el conocimiento sobre gestación, parto, evaluación de la madurez fetal, pronóstico del parto, planificación de cesárea y evaluación del neonato. En este contexto, la perinatología es un área de la medicina canina que experimenta creciente demanda. Desde una perspectiva profesional, esto constituye un desafío en términos de promover una crianza fundamentada en bases científica; por ello, el propósito de la presente revisión de literatura fue revisar y discutir tópicos de esta novel disciplina a fin de contribuir a su mejor comprensión.
Zusammenfassung Die kanine Parovirose ist eine hochansteckende und nach wie vor häufige Infektionskrankheit. Alle Hunde sollten daher zu jeder Zeit geschützt sein. Die humorale Immunität nimmt dabei eine zentrale Bedeutung ein. So lässt der Nachweis von Antikörpern bei erwachsenen Hunden auf einen vorliegenden Schutz schließen und die überwiegende Mehrheit erwachsener Hunde hat spezifische Antikörper gegen CPV aufgrund einer vorangegangenen Impfung oder Infektion. Mittlerweile empfehlen Expertengremien weltweit Antikörpermessungen als Alternative zu routinemäßigen Wiederholungsimpfungen im Abstand von 3 Jahren bei adulten Hunden. Aktiv gebildete Antikörper induzieren einen nahezu lebenslangen Schutz. Wiederholungsimpfungen führen bei Hunden, die bereits Antikörper aufweisen, nicht zu einem Anstieg des Antikörpertiters. Eine Wiederholungsimpfung ist daher nur beim Fehlen von Antikörpern sinnvoll. So lassen sich unnötige Impfungen (und damit potenzielle unerwünschte Wirkungen) vermeiden. Mit dem Hämagglutinationshemmtest und dem Serumneutralisationstest kann die Höhe des Antikörpertiters im Labor bestimmt werden. Praxistaugliche Schnelltests liefern anstelle eines Antikörpertiters semiquantitative Ergebnisse. Da bei erwachsenen Hunden, die geimpft sind oder eine Infektion überstanden haben, der Nachweis von Antikörpern in jeglicher Höhe mit dem Schutz vor Parvovirose gleichzusetzen ist, eignen sich diese Tests besonders im Rahmen der Gesundheitsvorsorge zur Erkennung ungeschützter Hunde, um diese dann gezielt zu impfen. Zur Beurteilung der Qualität der Testsysteme ist eine hohe Spezifität und eine damit einhergehende niedrige Anzahl falsch-positiver Ergebnisse wichtig.
Immunoglobulins cannot cross the placenta in pregnant sows. Neonatal pigs are therefore agammaglobulinemic at birth and, although immunocompetent, they cannot mount rapid immune responses at systemic and mucosal sites. Their survival depends directly on the acquisition of maternal immunity via colostrum and milk. Protection by maternal immunity is mediated by a number of factors, including specific systemic humoral immunity, involving mostly maternal IgG transferred from blood to colostrum and typically absorbed within the first 36 h of life. Passive mucosal immunity involves local humoral immunity, including the production of secretory IgA (sIgA), which is transferred principally via milk until weaning. The mammary gland (MG) produces sIgA, which is, then secreted into the milk via the poly-Ig receptor (pIgR) of epithelial cells. These antibodies are produced in response to intestinal and respiratory antigens, including pathogens and commensal organisms. Protection is also mediated by cellular immunity, which is transferred via maternal cells present in mammary secretions. The mechanisms underlying the various immunological links between MG and the mucosal surfaces involve hormonally regulated addressins and chemokines specific to these compartments. The enhancement of colostrogenic immunity depends on the stimulation of systemic immunity, whereas the enhancement of lactogenic immunity depends on appropriate stimulation at induction sites, an increase in cell trafficking from the gut and upper respiratory tract to the MG and, possibly, enhanced immunoglobulin production at the effector site and secretion in milk. In addition, mammary secretions provide factors other than immunoglobulins that protect the neonate and regulate the development of mucosal immunity--a key element of postnatal adaptation to environmental antigens.
Termination or closure of intestinal permeability to colostral immunoglobulins in the calf occurs spontaneously with age at a progressively increased rate after 12 h postpartum. Following a normal distribution, mean closure occurred near 24 h postpartum when the calves were not fed. Feeding colostrum shortly after birth resulted in earlier cessation of absorption. The amount of colostrum fed had no influence on closure. A quadratic response surface analysis of starting time on closure showed a significant linear response in all immunoglobulin classes, indicating that as colostrum feeding is delayed, cessation also is delayed up to the time of spontaneous closure. Differences in closure time for the three immunoglobulin classes were not significant.
The greater absorption of colostral immunoglobulin in neonate calves suckling their dams over bottle-feeding pooled colostrum was studied to determine if age (hours postpartum) at initial feeding, amount of colostrum ingested, or mothering effect of being with the dam were responsible. Rate of absorption and maximum absorption were superior in calves that suckled, regardless of age or amount of colostrum ingested. Though the mothering effect is questionable, there is evidence that something labile is being transferred to the calf in the fresh colostrum, acting as a messenger to stimulate rapid absorptive activity in the intestinal epithelium.
Newborn pups from 4 large litters were alloted to 6 groups to determine effect of time and route of administration on absorption of an alternate source of immunoglobulin. Selective absorption of specific classes of immunoglobulins was also investigated. The alternate source of immunoglobulin consisted of pooled serum that was administered either PO or SC. Control groups were either left with the dam (group C1) or fed milk replacer (group C2). Blood samples were collected from pups at birth and 24 hours. Immunoglobulin (IgA, IgG, IgM) concentrations were determined by use of radial immunodiffusion on samples of pooled serum, colostrum, and pups' serum (birth and 24 hours). Serum IgA concentration was less than the sensitivity of the procedure and was not included in the statistical analysis. Pups fed 8 ml of pooled serum at birth and 12 hours later (group T1) absorbed more (P less than 0.05) IgG and IgM than did group-C2 pups, but less (P less than 0.05) than did group-C1 pups. Pups fed 8 ml of pooled serum at 12 hours only had significant (P less than 0.05) increase of IgG concentration, but no absorption of IgM (P greater than 0.05) at 24 hours, compared with control pups (group C2). Pups administered 8 ml of pooled serum SC at birth (group SC1) had similar (P greater than 0.05) absorption of IgG and higher (P less than 0.05) absorption of IgM than did pups of group T1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Failure to obtain passive transfer of immunity via colostrum can be detrimental to the health and survival of a young pup. It has been stated that pups that do not receive colostrum in the first 2 days after birth, be given adult dog serum as a source of protective immunoglobulins. Twenty-five Beagle pups were obtained by cesarean section from 6 Beagle bitches. The pups were allotted to 3 groups at birth. Group 1 was a control group and was allowed to suckle colostrum. Group-2 pups received 22 ml of pooled adult dog serum/kg of body weight (10 ml/lb) SC at birth. Group-3 pups were given 22 ml of pooled adult dog serum/kg by stomach tube at birth. Pups from groups 2 and 3 were separated from the bitch for 48 hours to prevent colostral antibody absorption and were fed a commercially available milk replacer by stomach tube. After 48 hours, all pups were returned to the bitch until they were weaned at 6 weeks of age. Blood samples were collected from all of the pups at birth and on days 1, 2, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35. The concentration of IgA, IgG, and IgM in serum was determined by radial immunodiffusion and compared by use of a one-way analysis of variance. The control pups had significantly higher serum concentrations of IgA and IgG, than the pups in groups 2 and 3 on days 1 and 2 and 2 and 7, respectively. Group-2 pups had significantly higher serum IgM concentrations on day 1 than either group 1- or group-3 pups.