New research confirms the effect of FerAppease® on the health and performance of preweaned dairy calves

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A Texas A&M University research study by Cooke et al. (2023)* evaluated the impact FerAppease, a unique analogue of the naturally occurring Maternal Bovine Appeasing Substance (MBAS), had on the health and performance of preweaned Holstein calves. Results showed that FerAppease reduced the incidence of diarrhea, lowered mortality risk and increased body weight. The results were recently published in the American Association of Bovine Practitioner (AABP) The Bovine Practitioner, Vol. 57, No. 2.

The study, conducted on a New York commercial dairy farm, used 410 calves with 205 in the treatment group and 205 in the control group. Treated calves received a 2.5-ml topical application of FerAppease to the nuchal skin and 2.5 ml to the skin above the muzzle at one day of age and then every 14 days until weaning at 60 days. An extra dose was applied when calves were moved from hutches to collective pens at approximately 100 days of age. Control calves did not receive any treatment. Both calf groups were evaluated daily for approximately 100 days regarding their general health, focusing on detection of diarrhea and respiratory diseases by farm personnel who were kept blind of the treatment groups.

Researchers determined that FerAppease reduced the incidence of diarrhea from 70.8% in the control group to 58.6% in the treatment group (P = 0.01), and mortality risk was statistically lower (P = 0.011) for the treatment group at 2.4% compared to the control group at 7.8% (Fig. 1). In addition, FerAppease-treated calves were 9.4 pounds heavier on average (P = 0.002) than control calves seven days after they were moved from the individual hutches to the collective pens.

“Maternal pheromones are naturally produced by the mammary gland of the female when she is lactating, playing an important role in mitigating stress for the offspring,” said Dr. Reinaldo Cooke, professor at Texas A&M Animal Sciences Department. During a recent AABP podcast Have You Herd? (Episode 184) Cooke explained that MBAS is the analog of that pheromone. “Researchers were able to isolate the maternal pheromone and replicate it for commercial use in cattle. This study confirms the use of MBAS during the preweaning period can be a suitable strategy to improve dairy calf health and performance.”

FERA Diagnostics and Biologicals combines innovation and science to bring practical products, such as FerAppease, to the animal health field that will enhance the health, productivity and welfare of pets and production animals. A FerAppease treatment costs about $3 per head for adult cattle and $1.50 per head for calves. FerAppease use doesn’t require a veterinarian’s prescription or a Veterinary Feed Directive plan, and there are no meat withholding requirements. For more information and study data, and to order product, visit www.FERAah.com.

* Effect of maternal bovine appeasing substance on health and performance of preweaned dairy calves

Reinaldo F. Cooke, DVM, PhD, Leonardo Bringhenti, DVM, PhD; Eduardo Colombo, DVM, PhD (Candidate); Marjory X. Rodrigues, PhD