Effects on Animal Health and Immune Function
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The concept of developmental programming was established using epidemiologic studies that investigated chronic illnesses in humans, such as coronary heart disease and hypertension. In livestock species, the impacts of developmental programming are important for production and welfare reasons and are used as research models for human and other animal species. Dams should be in adequate nutritional status to ensure optimal nutrient supply for fetal growth, including development of their immune system. Beef and dairy cows with insufficient nutrient intake during gestation produce calves with reduced immunity against diseases, such as scours, respiratory disease, and mastitis.
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