Supplementation of diets with bovine colostrum influences immune function in dogs

Br J Nutr. 2013 Dec;110(12):2216-21. doi: 10.1017/S000711451300175X. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


While the need for colostrum in neonates is well established, the systemic effect of feeding bovine colostrum (BC) to adult humans is gaining increasing attention. However, no systematic studies evaluating the immunomodulatory effect of BC in dogs have been reported. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the immunomodulatory effect of dietary supplementation of BC in dogs. The study was conducted in two phases: pre-test (8 weeks) and test (40 weeks), with twenty-four dogs (mean age 2.5 years) randomised into two groups. In the 'pre-test' phase, both groups were fed a nutritionally complete diet. At the end of the 'pre-test' phase, all dogs received a canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccine, and dogs in the 'test group' were switched to a diet supplemented with 0.1% spray-dried BC. Response to the CDV vaccine was evaluated by measuring vaccine-specific plasma IgG levels. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue response was assessed by measuring faecal IgA levels. Gut microbiota were evaluated by the temporal temperature gel electrophoresis methodology. Dogs fed the BC-supplemented diet demonstrated a significantly higher vaccine response and higher levels of faecal IgA when compared with the control group. Supplementing diets with BC also resulted in significantly increased gut microbiota diversity and stability in the test group. In conclusion, diets supplemented with BC significantly influence immune response in dogs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Colostrum / immunology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Distemper Virus, Canine / immunology*
  • Dogs
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism*
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Microbiota / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Random Allocation
  • Viral Vaccines*


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Viral Vaccines