Clinical Trial Evaluating the Effects of a Mannan Oligosaccharide in Milk Replacer on Health and Performance of Commercially Raised Dairy Calves


  • D. V. Nydam Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
  • M. J. Thomas Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Utica Blvd Lowville, NY 13367
  • M. C. Capel Perry Veterinary Clinic, Route 246, Perry, NY 14530
  • L. D. Warnick Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853



management strategy, animal welfare, antibiotics, milk replacer, antimicrobial resistance, subtherapeutic feeding, oligosaccharides


Calves are faced with many health and performance challenges, and a common management strategy for minimizing animal welfare concerns and increasing performance is to add antibiotics such as neomycin and/or tetracycline to milk replacer. Some studies have suggested that calves prophylactically fed antibiotics have improved growth and decreased morbidity. However, use of antibiotics in cattle production is under increased public scrutiny due to concerns that such uses may promote the development of antimicrobial resistance. This is especially apparent in subtherapeutic feeding of antibiotics. Therefore, it is desirable to find alternatives to prophylactically fed antibiotics in calves. Some investigators have indicated that oligosaccharides may be able to replace antibiotics in milk replacer and achieve similar calf performance. Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) contain yeast cell wall fragments that may competitively bind intestinal pathogens and stimulate antibody production. The goal of this study was to evaluate if commercially reared dairy replacement heifers receiving MOS had a difference in performance, morbidity and mortality, compared to those given antibiotics or no additive in their milk replacer.






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