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Background: Promoting and maintaining health is critical to ruminant welfare and productivity. Within human medicine, faecal lactoferrin is quantified for routine assessment of various gastrointestinal illnesses avoiding the need for blood sampling. This approach might also be adapted and applied for non-invasive health assessments in animals.
Methods: In this proof-of-concept study a bovine lactoferrin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), designed for serum and milk, was applied to a faecal supernatant to assess its potential for quantifying lactoferrin in the faeces of cattle. Faecal lactoferrin concentrations were compared to background levels to assess the viability of the technique. A comparison was then made against serum lactoferrin levels to determine if they were or were not reflective of one another.
Results: The optical densities of faecal samples were significantly greater than background readings, supporting the hypothesis that the assay was effective in quantifying faecal lactoferrin (T13, 115= 11.99, p < 0.0005, n = 115). Lactoferrin concentrations of faecal and serum samples, taken from the same animals on the same day, were significantly different (T21 = 2.49, p = 0.022) and did not correlate (r = 0.069, p = 0.767).
This is a submission to PeerJ for review.
Supplement of sheep and deer samples
A supplement containing information for the sheep and deer samples (faecal and blood) that were analysed in addition to the core cattle work.