Two treatments were evaluated in heifers to determine the effects of a yeast supplement on immune and metabolic responses to a combined (tandem viral-bacterial) respiratory disease challenge. Thirty-two beef heifers (325 ± 20.1 kg BW) were selected from a larger population previously assigned to one of two treatments: Control (CON), receiving no yeast supplement in the diet, or yeast (YST), CON diet plus a combination live yeast (2.5 g·heifer−1·d−1) and yeast cell wall (2.5 g·heifer−1·d−1) supplement (Phileo Lesaffre Animal Care, Milwaukee, WI). Heifers were maintained on treatments for 31 d prior to the challenge. On day −3 all heifers were fitted with an indwelling vaginal temperature recording device, received an intranasal challenge with 2 × 108 plaque-forming units of bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1), and placed in outdoor pens. On day 0, all heifers were fitted with an indwelling jugular catheter, challenged intratracheally with an average dose of 3.0 × 107 colony-forming units (cfu) of Mannheimia haemolytica in 100 mL media, and were transferred into individual stanchions in an enclosed, environmentally controlled barn. Whole blood samples were collected at −72 h and at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 h (hematology) and at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 h (serum isolation) relative to M. haemolytica challenge (0 h). Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS specific for repeated measures with fixed effects of treatment, time, and the treatment × time interaction. Vaginal temperature and cortisol concentrations were similar between treatments (P ≥ 0.39). Although total leukocyte count following BHV-1 challenge was similar between treatments (P = 0.21), there was a tendency (P = 0.07) for CON heifers to have greater neutrophil counts than YST heifers. Serum haptoglobin concentration was similar between treatments (P = 0.13). Heifers in the YST treatment had similar serum glucose concentrations (P = 0.25) and decreased serum concentrations of urea nitrogen compared to CON (P = 0.03). Dietary treatment did not affect serum nonesterified fatty acid concentrations (P = 0.37). Nasal lesion score severity (0-4) tended (P = 0.07) to be decreased in YST compared to CON (2.5 vs. 3.19 ± 0.26), while water intake tended to be increased in YST (P = 0.06). Feeding a yeast supplement had little effect on the acute-phase response but improved metabolic outcomes in heifers during a respiratory disease challenge.
- Feedlot health
- Immune response
- Metabolic response
- Respiratory disease challenge