Comparison of in vitro tests for evaluation of Passive Transfer of Immunoglobulins in giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Serum samples from captive giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) were tested to assess passive transfer of immunoglobulins using in vitro methods developed for domestic ruminants. Estimated immunoglobulin levels were compared using five tests (protein electrophoresis, total protein refractometry, zinc sulfate turbidity, glutaraldehyde coagulation, and sodium sulfite turbidity). A linear relationship was observed among total protein, gamma globulin (electrophoretic measurement), and immunoglobulin level based on spectrophotometric measurement of zinc sulfate turbidity. Nonquantitative assays also demonstrated statistical correlation with the quantitative methods. Using criteria similar to those established for domestic species, cutoff values for failure of passive transfer (FPT) were established for these tests in neonatal giraffe: 1) total protein < 0.5 g/dl; 3) estimated immunoglobulin level < 1,000 mg/dl (zinc sulfate turbidity); 4) glutaraldehyde coagulation test negative; or 5) no visually detectable turbidity in 16% sodium sulfite or Bova-S negative. Retrospective examination of the medical histories showed a strong statistical association between animals designated as having FPT and those that were removed from their dams based on clinical assessment to be hand-reared. Application of these tests in the field should allow earlier detection and intervention for FPT in neonatal giraffe.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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