Dairy calves are generally fed whole milk or milk replacer during the first weeks of life. Compared with whole milk, milk replacer containing vegetable oils has a higher polyunsaturated fat content. More specifically, it is high in omega-6 and low in omega-3 fatty acids, making the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio ten times higher in milk replacer compared with whole milk. Omega-6 fatty acids are precursors for pro-inflammatory molecules and therefore, the hypothesis of this project is that milk replacers with high omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio may induce inflammation and compromise gut barrier function. The objective of this study is to evaluate effects of reducing omega-6 and increasing omega-3 fatty acids in milk replacer on intestinal health and inflammation in calves from birth up to 3 weeks of age. The results of this study will contribute to our knowledge regarding milk replacer formulations to improve dairy calf health on farm.
Trouw Nutrition Canada
University of Guelph
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