Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Lemley, Caleb O.

Committee Member

Cavinder, Clay A.

Committee Member

Walters, Kevin

Committee Member

Swortzel, Kirk A.

Committee Member

Ganapathi-Shanmugam, Shankar

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences


The dam vaginal microbiota is the first major microbial inoculating community within the neonate. The composition of the dam vaginal microbiota has implications in calf commensal microbiota development. Alterations of the dam microbial community prior to parturition could alter inoculating communities and immune responses in both the dam and calf. Thus, authors aimed to elucidate the microbial community composition of the bovine dam vaginal and calf nasal microbiota post-partum after utilizing betadine lavages (BL). The dam vaginal and calf nasal microbial communities and immune responses were evaluated at 0-, 15-, 30- and 60-day post-partum. Microbiota composition of the dam haircoat, udder, and IgG in the colostrum/calf sera were also evaluated at day 0. Serial BLG prior to parturition did not alter the alpha diversity of the dam-vaginal microbiota but did alter the calf-nasal microbiota at parturition (P = 0.03). Dams receiving BLG prior to calving had increased colostrum IgG concentrations compared to CON dams (P =0.04). These results suggest physiological insults (BLG) prior to parturition led to an increased immune response which altering dam colostrum IgG. Thus, neonatal colostrum consumption could drive immune responses against inoculating bacteria resulting in differing nasal microbial communities between treatment groups. The beta diversity of the calf nasal

microbiota was significantly different at day 0 compared to all other timepoints (P = 0.006). The calf nasal beta diversity at day 15 was similar to day 30 (P = 0.38) but significantly different compared to day 60 (P = 0.006). There was no effect of time on altering the alpha (P = 0.60) or beta (P = 0.06) diversity of the dam vaginal microbiota. The calf nasal microbiota was different from the dam vaginal microbiota at all timepoints post-partum, regardless of treatment. At day 15, the alpha and beta diversity of calves was altered compared to day 0, suggestive of a reinoculation timepoint between 0 and 14 days of age. Together, this data contributes to the paucity within beef cattle dam-calf post-partum microbiota literature and provides directionality for future research objectives within this field.