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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Harvey, Roger
item Ebert, R
item Andrews, Kathleen - Kate
item Genovese, Kenneth - Ken
item Anderson, Robin
item Nisbet, David - Dave

Submitted to: American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2002
Publication Date: 3/8/2003
Citation: Harvey, R.B., Ebert, R.C., Andrews, K., Genovese, K.J., Anderson, R.C., Nisbet, D.J. 2003. Competitive exclusion culture reduces mortality from F-18 strain E. coli in nursery pigs-field trial results. Proceedings of American Association of Swine Veterinarians. p. 485-486.

Interpretive Summary: Young weaned pigs can become sick and die from disease caused by E. coli bacteria. This bacteria causes major economic losses to the swine industry. Certain strains of E. coli are also of concern for food safety. We have shown in the laboratory that when a mixture of beneficial bacteria that occur normally in the gut of healthy pigs is administered to new born pigs, there is less disease and mortality from E. coli. This concept of disease prevention is known as competitive exclusion. The present field trials show that pigs in commercial swine operations can be protected from E. coli disease by competitive exclusion techniques. If this technology becomes commercially available, it could help to significantly decrease losses in the swine industry.

Technical Abstract: Mortality and morbidity associated with Escherichia coli annually cause economic losses to the swine industry. In NAHMS Swine 2000: Part II, colibacillosis was the most frequently reported disease in suckling pigs, and E. coli diarrhea was the third most prevalent disease listed for weaned pigs in the U.S. Enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli affecting nursery-age pigs have become more difficult to treat due to increased antibiotic resistance. Remediation strategies that are alternatives to antibiotics are currently being sought. One intervention method that has gained attention is the use of competitive exclusion (CE) cultures to prevent or reduce colonization and shedding of Salmonella and E. coli. Our laboratory developed a porcine-derived CE culture of known bacterial composition (designated RPCF) that protected young pigs from laboratory challenge with enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli. The objective of the present study was to use a series of field trials to determine if RPCF could protect nursery-age pigs from a natural challenge from an F-18 strain of E. coli. Three nursery farms that had been diagnosed with a history of F-18 problems were selected for participation in field trials. Nursery farms were supplied with weaned pigs (mean age = 17 d) from 8 sow units. CE-treated piglets sent to each nursery farm were orally dosed in the farrowing barn with 2.0 ml (108 colony-forming-units/ml) of RPCF within 24 h of birth, approximately the same number of pigs on the same farms served as untreated controls, and mortality for both groups was monitored throughout the nursery period. On Farm #1, CE treatment (n = 4900) reduced mortality and cull pigs by 0.80% (3.33%-2.54%) compared to untreated pigs (n = 6318); on Farm #2, mortality and culls in the CE group (n = 5045) were reduced by 6.7% (9.07%-2.36%) compared to untreated (n = 3242); and on Farm #3, mortality and culls in the CE group (n = 3127) were reduced by 0.85% (3.30%-2.45%) compared to untreated (n = 3068). When projected to an annual basis of 27,000 pigs/farm at $40/pig, this would mean 215 more pigs ($8,600) raised on Farm #1; 1810 pigs ($72,414) for Farm #2; and 230 pigs ($9,180) for Farm #3. Antibiotic expenses were reduced by $0.11/pig ($2,970) on Farm #1, by $0.70/pig ($18,765) on Farm #2, and by $0.28/pig ($7,560) on Farm #3. The results of this study suggest that CE treatments may control disease and mortality associated with F-18 strain of E. coli in nursery-age pigs.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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