Enhanced Bovine Colostrum Supplementation Shortens the Duration of Respiratory Disease in Thoroughbred Yearlings

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Bovine colostrum (BC) is used in humans as a nutritional supplement for immune support and has been shown to reduce Respiratory disease (RD). Other nutritional supplements, minerals and vitamins including mannan oligosaccharides (MOS), zinc and vitamins A, C and E have also been used for immune support. The aim of this prospective blinded randomized clinical trial was to evaluate the effects of a BC, MOS, zinc and vitamin based enhanced bovine colostrum supplement (BCS) on incidence and duration of RD occurring in yearling horses. 109 yearlings on two Thoroughbred farms in Central Kentucky were randomly assigned to treatment or placebo groups. Yearlings were supplemented once daily for 17 to 25 weeks with 100 g of a high quality commercial BCS (containing 50 g BC) or a full fat soy flour placebo, which were applied as a “top-dress” to feed. Yearlings were observed daily and evaluated weekly for signs of RD. All yearlings completed the study. The proportion of the study period during which each yearling exhibited illness was considerably shorter for BCS yearlings (least squares mean = 23% of the study period) than placebo yearlings (least squares mean = 34% of the study period, P = .002). The average duration of illness was shorter for BCS yearlings (1.96 weeks) than placebo yearlings (4.39 weeks, P < .0001). There was no statistical difference in the incidence of RD in these study yearlings.

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