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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Use of a Porcine-Derived, Defined Culture of Commensal Bacteria As An Alternative to Antibiotics to Control E. Coli Disease in Weaned Pigs: Field Trial Results

item Harvey, Roger
item Andrews, Kathleen
item Genovese, Kenneth
item Anderson, Robin
item Scott, H - TX A&M UNIV
item Callaway, Todd
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Digestive Physiology in Pigs
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 12, 2003
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Mortality and morbidity associated with Escherichia coli annually cause economic losses to the swine industry. In the United States in 2000, colibacillosis was the most frequently reported disease in suckling pigs, and E. coli diarrhea was the third most prevalent disease listed for weaned pigs. Enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli affecting nursery-age pigs have become more difficult to treat due to increased antibiotic resistance. It is generally accepted that colonization of the gut with normal microflora helps in the development of the immune system in neonates. In an effort to better understand the dynamics of GI tract colonization on immune function, our laboratory developed a defined culture of commensal bacteria of porcine GI tract origin, maintained it in continuous-flow culture for 3 years, and designated it as RPCF. When RPCF was administered to neonatal gnotobiotic pigs, immunoglobulin levels were increased 20 to 100-fold compared to untreated controls. Laboratory studies have shown that RPCF-treated pigs had decreased mortality compared to controls when challenged with enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of RPCF to protect nursery-age pigs in commercial swine operations from field challenge by enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli (F-18). In field trials involving four geographically separated nursery farms with a history of high mortality from F-18 strain E. coli, piglets were orally administered 10**8 colony-forming-units of RPCF within 24 h of birth, were monitored throughout the nursery period, and the performance of RPCF-treated pigs were compared to a similar number of untreated pigs on the same farm. A total of 22,840 piglets were treated with RPCF. All 4 farms experienced decreases in mortality and medication costs in the RPCF-treated groups. On farms A, B, C, and D, mortality in RPCF-treated pigs decreased by 6.2%, 0.80%, 0.85%, and 4.8%, respectively, compared to untreated pigs. When projected to an annual basis, the costs benefits from reduced medication costs and mortality were $85,725 on Farm A, $11,570 on Farm B, $16,740 on Farm C, and $7,280 on Farm D. All farms had a history of mortality and morbidity from F-18 strain E. coli, and although broad-spectrum antibiotics had been utilized, control of the disease was limited. Results from the present field trials indicate that under commercial conditions, RPCF was effective in controlling disease associated induced by enterotoxigenic E. coli and RPCF may be a viable alternative to the use of antibiotics.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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