Concentration of Total Immunoglobulins in Blood and Milk of Periparturient Mares and Their Transfer to Foals Via Colostrum

1 University of Novi Sad, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, 21000 Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia
2 Higher Technical School, Department of Food Technology, 12000 Pozarevac, Republic of Serbia
3 University of Belgrade, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, 11000 Belgrade, Republic of Serbia
4 Institute of Veterinary Medicine “Jagodina”, 35000 Jagodina, Republic of Serbia


BOBOS, S., Lj. JOVANOVIC-PANIC, D. TRAILOVIC, M. PAJIC, Z. RASIC, M. RADINOVIC, A. GALFI and S. SIMIN, 2013. Concentration of total immunoglobulins in blood and milk of periparturient mares and their transfer to foals via colostrums. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 19: 1431-1436


The aim of this study was to measure the importance of the humoral and cellular immune responses of mares’ mammary glands, the impact of these responses on vitality and growth of newborn foals, to confirm the hypothesis that colostrum quality is the decisive factor for protection of newborn foals against neonatal infections and health in the first months of their life and that the time of and quantity of colostrum intake are more important factors in the optimal development of foal serum immunoglobulin (Ig) levels than the concentration of Ig in the colostrum. Seventeen mares and their newborn foals were investigated in this research. Mares were mated during 2008 and gave birth from February to May of the following year. All newborn foals were clinically examined and blood samples were collected from v. jugularis according to the following scheme: one hour postpartum, 24 hours postpartum and then once daily until the end of the first 7 days of life. Newborn foals were born with extremely low levels of gamma globulin (2.7 ± 1%). Satisfactory transfer of Ig was registered in 82% of the foals, while insufficient transfer of Ig was registered in 18% of the foals. The somatic cell count in milk of healthy mares was the highest on the first day postpartum and gradually declined over the next 7 days. In spite that, no correlation was observed between the somatic cell count and the establishment of cellular immunity in newborn foals.

Key words: mare, colostrum, foals, immunoglobulins, A/G ratio, somatic cell count
Abbreviations: Ig – immunoglobulin; A/G – albumin/globulin; SC – somatic cell; IgG – immunoglobulin G

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