Objectives of the present study were to characterize the dose dependency of an intravenous Escherichia coli O111:H8 challenge in colostrum-fed Jersey calves and to identify any biochemical markers indicative of septicemia. Eighteen 3-week old colostrum-fed Jersey calves were completely randomized to 1 of 6 doses of E. coli O111:H8. The challenge doses included 0, 1.5×105, 1.5×106, 1.5×107, 1.5×108, and 1.5×109 colony-forming units (CFU) given intravenously as a bolus in 5mL of sterile isotonic saline. Peripheral blood samples were collected at 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, and 48h relative to the challenge for biochemical, total leukocyte count, and differential analyses. Rectal temperatures were collected via indwelling rectal temperature probes at 5-min intervals, and hourly averages calculated from 2 d prior to the challenge till 2 d after the challenge. All calves survived the 48h observation period following the challenge. Calves given 1.5×108 and 1.5×109CFU displayed sickness behaviors (P<0.01) beginning 0.5h after the challenge and returned to that of the control calves by 6 and 32h for calves challenged with 1.5×108 and 1.5×109CFU, respectively. There were treatment×time interactions (P<0.01) on total leukocyte counts and plasma glucose and zinc concentrations. Calves administered 1.5×108 and 1.5×109CFU had leucopenia beginning 2h after the challenge and returning to counts similar to the control calves within 24h. Additionally, those calves were hypoglycemic from 4 to 12h after the challenge with the degree of hypoglycemia inversely related to the dose of the E. coli. All calves challenged with E. coli had decreased plasma zinc concentrations, and the magnitude was inversely proportional to the challenge dose. There were treatment×time interactions (P<0.001) on rectal temperatures following the challenge. All calves challenged with E. coli developed a febrile response, but the intensity and duration of the response were dependent on the challenge dose. These data indicate that calves intravenously challenged with 1.5×108 and 1.5×109CFU of the E. coli O111:H8 showed immediate clinical and biochemical signs indicative of septicemia. However, calves administered 1.5×107 or less of the E. coli had febrile responses, but did not develop septicemia. Blood glucose and zinc concentrations may be dose responsive indicators that could potentially differentiate between a septicemic versus non-septicemic calf.
- Inflammatory response