Arterial and venous blood samples were collected 1, 13, 25 and 37 h after birth from 48 Holstein calves and analysed for PaCO2 , PaO2 , pH and bicarbonate and base excess concentrations; venous samples were analysed for plasma IgG concentrations. On the basis of 1-h PaCO2 , 19 calves were assigned to non-respiratory acidosis (PaCO2 <50 mmHg) and 29 calves to respiratory acidosis (PaCO2 50 mmHg) groups. 12 calves in the respiratory acidosis group were untreated and 12 calves were given 5 min of assisted ventilation. All calves received between 1.8 and 2 litres of colostrum 2, 14, 26 and 38 h after birth. Plasma volume and apparent efficiency of IgG absorption (AEA) were determined 25 h after birth. Artificial ventilation had no effect on plasma IgG concentration or AEA. Lack of effect of 1-h PaCO2 on AEA and IgG concentration indicated that calves compensated for moderate acid-base imbalances associated with birth. Calves born with high PaCO2 achieved adequate plasma IgG concentrations if fed an adequate amount of high-quality colostrum early in life. The effect of artificial ventilation on PaCO2 was temporary and did not increase AEA.
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