The study objectives were to identify factors associated with serum vitamin A and vitamin E concentrations in beef calves less than 1 mo old and to examine associations between vitamin concentrations and health outcomes. Serum vitamin A concentrations were highest in calves more than 4 d old, with serum immunoglobulin G concentrations > 19 g L-1, from cows without perinatal health problems, and born where precipitation in the previous growing season was ≥200 mm. Serum vitamin E was highest in calves more than 4 d old, born earlier in the calving season, not born to heifers, and that received selenium and vitamin E injections at or shortly after birth. After accounting for other risk factors, calves with serum vitamin A less than 0.14 µg mL-1 were 2.8 times more likely to die (P = 0.02), and calves with serum vitamin E less than adequate for their age (2–7 d old, <0.8 µg mL-1; >7 d old, <0.5 µg mL-1) were 3.2 times more likely to be treated for enteritis than calves with higher concentrations (P = 0.0001). Drought conditions, dam peripartum health problems, and inadequate colostrum intake contribute to low vitamin A and vitamin E concentrations and adverse health outcomes in beef calves.
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