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Effects of a probiotic Enterococcus faecium strain supplemented from birth to weaning on diarrhoea patterns and performance of piglets*

Authors


  • *

    Presented at the Eighth Conference of the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition, Budapest, Hungary, September 23–25, 2004.

PD Dr. Annette Zeyner, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Nutritional Diseases and Dietetics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Leipzig, Gustav-Kühn-Str. 8, D-04159 Leipzig, Germany. Tel: +49-341-9738373; Fax: +49-341-9738399; E-mail: zeyner@vetmed.uni-leipzig.de

Summary

This placebo-controlled double-blind study was conducted to evaluate effects of Enterococcus faecium DSM 10663 NCIMB 10415 (EcF) orally given from birth to weaning on diarrhoea and performance of piglets. At the first 3 days postnatum (p.n.), piglets from 54 [verum group (VG)] and 60 [placebo group (PG)] sows got 1 g of a gel directly per mouth by a dosing device. Gel for the VG contained 2.8 × 109 colony forming units (CFU) EcF/g. From day 4 p.n. until weaning (24 ± 3.2 days p.n.) a liquid additive was given that administered twice a day 1.26 × 109 CFU EcF to each VG piglet. In case of diarrhoea, an electrolyte solution was used which provided daily 2.9 and 5.8 (week 1 and ≥ 2, respectively) × 108 CFU EcF per VG piglet. Diarrhoea scores were defined as follows: (i) no diarrhoea; (ii) piglets developed diarrhoea, but were vital and (iii) piglets suffered from diarrhoea and additionally looked pale, developed rough coat, showed slackening of the flank and lethargy. Counts of viable born, stillborn and weaned piglets were normal and not different between groups (p > 0.05). Placebo group vs. VG piglets suffered more frequently from diarrhoea (40.0 vs. 14.8%, p < 0.05). Duration of diarrhoea was not affected by feeding EcF (2.2 ± 0.81 days, p > 0.05). Diarrhoea score was lower in VG vs. PG (1.2 vs. 1.5 ± 0.54, p < 0.05) and the daily weight gain (DWG) was higher by 17 g/day (p < 0.05). Results suggest that the daily oral supplementation of EcF from birth to weaning reduces the portion of piglets suffering from diarrhoea. This may improve performance, as the higher DWG indicates. In contrast, no obvious benefit seems to result from an additional supply of EcF via electrolyte solution when diarrhoea is always present.

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