Date of Award

Summer 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Peter S Erickson

Second Advisor

Thomas Foxall

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Brock


Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of sodium butyrate (SB) supplementation in heifer diets. The objectives of experiment 1 was to evaluate the growth, apparent total tract digestibility, and coccidia levels of post-weaned limit-fed heifers supplemented with SB. A 12 week randomized complete block experiment was conducted using 24 Holstein heifers. Treatments were 100g soybean meal (control; CON) and 0.75 g of SB/kg of body weight + 100g soybean meal (SB). Diets were formulated to contain 16.4 % crude protein (CP), 2.27 Mcal/kg metabolizable energy (ME), and fed at a rate of 2.15% of body weight on a dry matter basis. Supplementing SB resulted in animals that tended to be shorter in the withers and grow less per day in length. Average daily gain was greater by week for the SB treatment. Control heifers tended to have fewer coccidia oocytes per kg of feces by week. Plasma glucose concentrations were lower and blood ketone concentrations were greater for the SB treatment. Final urine volume was greater for SB heifers. No difference was seen on purine derivatives. The goal of Experiment 2 was to determine the viability of sporozoites from Eimeria bovis in vitro exposed to SB, monensin (MON), or butyric acid (BA) and to determine the effects of SB on sporozoite damage to bovine epithelial cells in comparison to MON. Results showed that BA and MON decreased sporozoite percent viability. Sodium butyrate and MON decreased cell membrane damage in MDBK cells from sporozoites based on lactate dehydrogenase release.