Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Sciences: Medical and Veterinary Sciences

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

David Needle

Second Advisor

Peter Erickson


The emergence of antibiotic resistances has raised concerns in society about the widespread use of antibiotics, such as monensin, as growth enhancers in agriculture. Pressure to find alternatives has increased since the European Union banned the use of ionophorous antibiotics. Butyrate supplementation has been found to enhance growth in pre-weaned calves and it has been recently suggested to enhance growth in post-weaned heifers. In a recent study by Rice in 2017, there was a quadratic (P=0.03) response for coccidia counts as sodium butyrate was increased, with the lowest counts being at the intermediate doses. This suggested that butyrate has the potential to decrease coccidian in post-weaned heifers. Monensin is also used as a coccidiostat. While the objective of the study as a whole was to determine if sodium butyrate can replace monensin in the prevention of coccidiosis and in enhancing growth and feed efficiency, this report focuses only on the prevention of coccidiosis. At this time, only six of the forty Holstein heifers entered the study. The design was a 2 X 2 factorial arrangement of treatments in a randomized complete block design. Heifers were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: (1) carrier (control; C); (2) 0.75 g SB/kg of body weight + carrier (SB); (3) 1.0 mg M/kg of body weight + carrier (M); (4) (0.75 g SB/kg of body weight and 1.0 mg M/kg of body weight + carrier (SB/M). Heifers entered the study and were trained to Calan doors from week 12 to 13 age of life. Treatment began on week 14 of life and continued for 12 weeks. Fecal samples were taken from each calf weekly beginning in the covariate period for determination of coccidia. (Measurements were also taken to evaluate the growth of post weaned calves and apparent total tract nutrient digestibility). Oocyte counts were determined through the modified Wisconsin sugar floatation method. Due to the small sample size a statistical analysis was unable to be completed. However, the preliminary data suggested a negative trend in coccidian oocyte counts 2 as treatment progressed. This indicates that both sodium butyrate and monensin have the ability to decrease the shedding of coccidian oocytes, though the statistical significance is not known at this time.

Included in

Dairy Science Commons