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Impact of early inoculation of probiotics to suckling piglets on postweaning diarrhoea – A challenge study with Enterotoxigenic E. Coli F18

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  • L. H.B. Hansen, Chr. Hansen A/S
  • ,
  • C. Lauridsen
  • B. Nielsen, Chr. Hansen A/S
  • ,
  • L. Jørgensen, Chr. Hansen A/S
  • ,
  • N. Canibe

Postweaning diarrhoea caused by Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a threat to the pig industry. With an intensified focus on finding alternatives to the use of medical zinc oxide and antibiotics in newly weaned pigs, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of early inoculation of probiotics to suckling piglets on subsequently ETEC faecal shedding and immune parameters in ETEC F18-challenged weaned piglets. Sixty pigs weaned on day 28 of age were assigned to three treatment groups: (i) Negative Control (non-challenged), (ii) Positive Control (challenged) and (iii) Probiotic (challenged and inoculated with a multi-species probiotic product during suckling). On days 1 and 2 postweaning, pigs in the Positive Control and Probiotic groups were challenged with 5 × 108 colony-forming unit ETEC F18/pig/day, whereas pigs in the Negative Control group were provided with NaCl. Growth and diarrhoea incidence were not significantly affected by ETEC challenge or probiotic administration. ETEC F18 shedding and C-reactive protein concentration in plasma were significantly lower in the Negative Control group, confirming a successful challenge model. Pigs in the Probiotic group had a significantly reduced number of pigs shedding ETEC F18 and STb toxin in faeces compared with the Positive Control group. Probiotic application did not significantly impact the concentration of C-reactive protein, haptoglobin and cytokines in plasma nor haematology numbers. In conclusion, weaned pigs administered with a multi-species probiotic product early in life had a more rapid response towards the pathogen challenge and a faster clearance of ETEC compared with the Positive Control group. Administration of a multi-species probiotic to newborn piglets may thus promote resilience in the newly weaned pig. However, further studies with pigs subjected to a more severe pathogen challenge are needed to confirm these results and to investigate the mechanism of action of the probiotic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100667
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Bacteria, Enteric disease, Health, Immunity, Pig

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