Etiology of Colitis-Complex Diarrhea in Growing Pigs: A Review

Farhad M. Panah, Charlotte Lauridsen*, Ole Hojberg, Tina Skau Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Colitis-complex diarrhea (CCD) in pigs can be defined as a type of diarrhea, which is associated with colonic inflammation and disrupted colonic gut barrier functionality in growing pigs (4–16 weeks post-weaning). It is a challenge for the pig industry as it is associated with the high use of antibiotics, reduced animal welfare, and depressed growth rate. The exact etiology of CCD is still unclear; however, pathogens including Brachyspira (B.) hyodysenteriae, B. pilosicoli, and swine whipworms such as Trichuris (T.) suis have been involved in specific colitis (SC). In the absence of specific pathogens, dietary factors, such as high levels of protein, pelleted feedstuffs, and lack of sufficient antioxidants, can result in non-specific colitis (NSC). On the other hand, supplement of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and polyphenols, sufficient supply of essential amino acids (e.g., threonine, cysteine, and proline), short-chain fatty acids (SCFA; especially butyrate), and resistant starch have shown to confer preventing/ameliorating effects on CCD. Different putative biomarkers associated with CCD have been presented. It is anticipated that a comprehensive picture of the possible causes of CCD and potential dietary interventions could cast light on the direction of future studies aimed at developing preventive and curative strategies against CCD in growing pigs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2151
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • adult pigs
  • biomarkers
  • colonic inflammation
  • dietary strategies
  • non-specific colitis
  • specific colitis


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