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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308373

Research Project: Optimizing the Biology of the Animal-Plant Interface for Improved Sustainability of Forage-Based Animal Enterprises

Location: Forage-animal Production Research

Title: Effects of antibiotics on the gut microbes

Author
item LAWRENCE, LAURIE - University Of Kentucky
item HARLOW, BRITTANY - University Of Kentucky
item Flythe, Michael

Submitted to: Nutrition Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/10/2013
Publication Date: 3/26/2014
Citation: Lawrence, L.M., Harlow, B.E., Flythe, M.D. 2014. Effects of antibiotics on the gut microbes. Nutrition Conference Proceedings. Pg. 7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In addition to providing nutritional benefits, the indigenous gastrointestinal microflora of the horse provide protection from various pathogens. When the normal microflora are disturbed, there is increased potential for the pathogens to colonize the gastrointestinal tract and cause disease. Certain antibiotics that are commonly used in equine medicine have been reported to increase the shedding of various pathogens in equine feces. Horses treated with these antibiotics are at increased risk of developing diarrhea, which can be mild or severe and life-threatening. Most studies of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) in horses have focused on the effects of antibiotics on the pathogens that cause disease. Currently, the organisms most commonly implicated in AAD are Salmonella spp. and Clostridium spp., particularly C. difficile. Few studies have attempted to characterize the changes in the normal flora that may be permissive to the establishment of the pathogens. A collaborative study between the University of Kentucky and the USDA-ARS Forage Animal Production Research Unit recently identified effects of two common equine antibiotics on lactobacilli and cellulolytic bacteria of the equine gastrointestinal tract. These results provide some insight into possible interventions that might mitigate disturbances in the equine gastrointestinal microflora when antibiotics are administered to horses.