The dynamics and duration of maternally derived antibodies as well as the onset of acquired immunity against Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida in range-pastured beef calves were investigated. Two groups of unvaccinated cattle were used in this study. Serum antibody responses were measured by enzyme-linked immunoassay for antibodies of the IgG1, IgG2 and IgM isotypes binding M. haemolytica whole cells (WC) or leukotoxin (LKT) and P. multocida outer membrane proteins (OMPs). Comparisons of mean antibody responses to M. haemolytica LKT and WC and P. multocida OMPs were made within each group. Maternally derived antibodies against M. haemolytica and P. multocida reached lowest levels at 30–90 days after birth. Calves began production of antibodies against M. haemolytica and P. multocida between 60 and 90 days of age in both groups. Based on the results of this study, in beef herds vaccinated against M. haemolytica and/or P. multocida, it may be best to vaccinate calves around 3 months of age. In contrast, beef calves from unvaccinated herds might benefit from vaccination at 4 months of age.
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