Evaluation of the Brix refractometer as an on-farm tool for the detection of passive transfer of immunity in dairy calves

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Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the accuracy of both the optical and digital Brix refractometers compared with radial immunodiffusion (RID) for determining the immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentrations in dairy calf serum. Design: The experiment design was a cross-sectional survey of four dairy farms. Serum was sampled from 12 calves from each farm at approximately 48 hours of age. Methods: Serum IgG concentrations of 48 calves were measured using RID and both types of Brix refractometer. Results: IgG concentrations measured by Brix refractometer scores correlated with RID results: 0.74 and 0.71 for the digital and optical devices, respectively. The minimum Brix score that identified calf serum with success of passive immunity (>1000mg/dL RID IgG) with 100% accuracy was 10% for both devices. The optical and digital devices performed similarly at identifying IgG concentrations in calf serum, with a concordance of 87%. Conclusion: Brix refractometer score =10% can be used to classify calves with successful transfer of passive immunity and the devices are sufficiently accurate for use as a simple, inexpensive on-farm tool for the monitoring of neonatal dairy calf immunity levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Volume93
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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