In a recent article published in the 2015 AAEP Proceedings, a group of researchers reported favorable findings in the use of a bovine colostrum supplement in the treatment of upper respiratory disease (URD) in young horses. Bovine colostrum (BC) has been used in human medicine as a nutritional supplement for support of the immune system and has been effective in reduce URD. In this study, 109 yearlings on 2 farms were randomly assigned to one of two groups: control and placebo. The treatment group was fed a commercially produced BC-based supplement (50 grams) top-dressed on their feed for 17-25 weeks. All yearlings were observed weekly for signs of URD and weights were taken monthly. All 109 yearlings completed the study. Results showed that the treated yearlings exhibited symptoms for a much smaller proportion of the study period (23% compared to 34% with the untreated group) and the average duration of illness was less (1.96 weeks as compared to 4.49 weeks for the untreated group). There were no differences in weight gain or incidence of URD between the two groups.
Relevance: Lessening the length of time that a young horse is showing clinical symptoms of URD by something as “simple” as a top-dressed BC supplement seems almost too good to be true. The really great part is that there does not seem to be any down side to doing this. Another tool for all of us to help keep our young horses healthy and thriving.
Scientific Article: Fenger,CK, et.al. Feeding a Bovine Colostrum Supplement Decreases the Duration of Upper Respiratory Disease in Thoroughbred Yearlings. AAEP Proceedings vol 61 2015, pp. 521-522.