Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences




This study was designed to determine carnitine concentrations in newborn calves with suspected septicaemia, healthy calves, and colostrum samples as well as to detect alterations in blood carnitine concentrations after colostrum intake. Carnitine concentrations were detected in both neonatal calves with suspected septicaemia (n = 195) and healthy calves (n =10) as well as in colostrum/milk samples from their dams (n = 20). The mean carnitine concentration on the 2nd day after colostrum intake (32.61 μmol/L) was significantly higher than that measured before colostrum intake (17.61 μmol/L) (P < 0.05). The striking result was significantly lower mean carnitine concentration detected in calves with suspected septicaemia (17.11 μmol/L), compared to healthy calves (24.92 μmol/L) (P < 0.001). Apart from a sudden increase on day 7, no significant alteration was observed in colostrum/milk carnitine concentrations throughout the postpartum period. The results indicated that colostrum contained carnitine, which passed into the bloodstream of the calf by passive colostral transfer, and that a dramatic reduction in blood carnitine concentrations of calves with suspected septicaemia existed. The results might be of help in dealing with septicaemia suspected neonatal calves through both measurement of blood carnitine and, in response, to supplement such cases with carnitine.


Carnitine, septicaemia, neonatal calves, passive immunity, colostrum/milk

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