The cows receiving antibiotics for intra-mammary infection (IMI) produce milk that cannot be marketed. This is considered waste milk (WM), and a convenient option for farmers is using it as calf food. However, adding to the risk of selecting resistant bacteria, residual antibiotics might interfere with the gut microbiome development and influence gastrointestinal health. We assessed the longitudinal effect of unpasteurized WM containing residual cefalexin on calf intestinal health and fecal microbiota in an 8-week trial. After 3 days of colostrum, six calves received WM and six calves received bulk tank milk (BM) for 2 weeks. For the following 6 weeks, all 12 calves received milk substitute and starter feed. Every week for the first 2 weeks and every 2 weeks for the remaining 6 weeks, we subjected all calves to clinical examination and collected rectal swabs for investigating the fecal microbiota composition. Most WM calves had diarrhea episodes in the first 2 weeks of the trial (5/6 WM and 1/6 BM), and their body weight was significantly lower than that of BM calves. Based on 16S rRNA gene analysis, WM calves had a lower fecal microbiota alpha diversity than that in BM calves, with the lowest p-value at Wk4 (p < 0.02), 2 weeks after exposure to WM. The fecal microbiota beta diversity of the two calf groups was also significantly different at Wk4 (p < 0.05). Numerous significant differences were present in the fecal microbiota taxonomy of WM and BM calves in terms of relative normalized operational taxonomic unit (OTU) levels, affecting five phyla, seven classes, eight orders, 19 families, and 47 genera. At the end of the trial, when 6 weeks had passed since exposure to WM, the phyla Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Saccharibacteria were lower, while Chlamydiae were higher in WM calves. Notably, WM calves showed a decrease in beneficial taxa such as Faecalibacterium, with a concomitant increase in potential pathogens such as Campylobacter, Pseudomonas, and Chlamydophila spp. In conclusion, feeding pre-weaned calves with unpasteurized WM containing antibiotics is related to a higher incidence of neonatal diarrhea and leads to significant changes in the fecal microbiota composition, further discouraging this practice in spite of its short-term economic advantages.

Feeding Pre-weaned Calves With Waste Milk Containing Antibiotic Residues Is Related to a Higher Incidence of Diarrhea and Alterations in the Fecal Microbiota

Sala G.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The cows receiving antibiotics for intra-mammary infection (IMI) produce milk that cannot be marketed. This is considered waste milk (WM), and a convenient option for farmers is using it as calf food. However, adding to the risk of selecting resistant bacteria, residual antibiotics might interfere with the gut microbiome development and influence gastrointestinal health. We assessed the longitudinal effect of unpasteurized WM containing residual cefalexin on calf intestinal health and fecal microbiota in an 8-week trial. After 3 days of colostrum, six calves received WM and six calves received bulk tank milk (BM) for 2 weeks. For the following 6 weeks, all 12 calves received milk substitute and starter feed. Every week for the first 2 weeks and every 2 weeks for the remaining 6 weeks, we subjected all calves to clinical examination and collected rectal swabs for investigating the fecal microbiota composition. Most WM calves had diarrhea episodes in the first 2 weeks of the trial (5/6 WM and 1/6 BM), and their body weight was significantly lower than that of BM calves. Based on 16S rRNA gene analysis, WM calves had a lower fecal microbiota alpha diversity than that in BM calves, with the lowest p-value at Wk4 (p < 0.02), 2 weeks after exposure to WM. The fecal microbiota beta diversity of the two calf groups was also significantly different at Wk4 (p < 0.05). Numerous significant differences were present in the fecal microbiota taxonomy of WM and BM calves in terms of relative normalized operational taxonomic unit (OTU) levels, affecting five phyla, seven classes, eight orders, 19 families, and 47 genera. At the end of the trial, when 6 weeks had passed since exposure to WM, the phyla Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Saccharibacteria were lower, while Chlamydiae were higher in WM calves. Notably, WM calves showed a decrease in beneficial taxa such as Faecalibacterium, with a concomitant increase in potential pathogens such as Campylobacter, Pseudomonas, and Chlamydophila spp. In conclusion, feeding pre-weaned calves with unpasteurized WM containing antibiotics is related to a higher incidence of neonatal diarrhea and leads to significant changes in the fecal microbiota composition, further discouraging this practice in spite of its short-term economic advantages.
2021
Penati, M.; Sala, G.; Biscarini, F.; Boccardo, A.; Bronzo, V.; Castiglioni, B.; Cremonesi, P.; Moroni, P.; Pravettoni, D.; Addis, M. F.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
fvets-08-650150.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione finale editoriale
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 2.8 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.8 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1219691
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 10
  • Scopus 16
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 13
social impact