Submitted to: International Symposium on Epidemiology and Control of Salmonella in Pork
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2003
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Nursery pigs suffer from diarrhea, gut edema, and mortality associated with enterotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli. Traditional treatment of this disease relied upon antibiotics; however, resistance has developed and alternatives to antibiotics are being sought. Our laboratory developed a defined culture of commensal bacteria of porcine GI tract origin, maintained it in continuous-flow culture, and designated it as RPCF. RPCF-treated pigs had decreased mortality and bacterial shedding compared to controls when challenged in the laboratory with enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of RPCF to reduce disease associated with F-18 strain E. coli in nursery-age pigs in commercial swine operations. Four geographically separated nursery farms with a history of high mortality from F-18 strain E. coli were identified. Piglets on those farms were orally administered 10**8 colony-forming-units of RPCF within 24 h of birth, and their performance monitored throughout the nursery period. RPCF-treated pigs were compared to a similar number of untreated pigs on the same farms. A total of 33,676 piglets were included in these field trials. RPCF-treated pigs had a mean decrease in mortality and culls of 3.18% compared to untreated pigs. RPCF treatments reduced economic losses due to medication and mortality by an average of $30,330 per farm. Results from the present studies indicate that under commercial conditions, RPCF was effective in controlling disease induced by enterotoxigenic E. coli and RPCF may be a viable alternative to the use of antibiotics.