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Development of Post-weaning Diarrhoea in Piglets. Relation to Presence of <i>Escherichia coli</i> Strains and Rotavirus

by 5m Editor
27 March 2004, at 12:00am

By Melin L, Mattsson S, Katouli M, Wallgren P - Karolinska Institute, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the National Veterinary Institute, Sweden - This article published by Atlantic Swine looks at the effect of E.coli on the development of Post-weaning Diarrhoea in Piglets. Weaning of piglets complicated with an exposure to pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli was scrutinized in two sets.

Take me to the ARSP website. The first set comprised 20 animals representing two litters and the second set included 30 animals from five litters.

The piglets were either left as controls or exposed to one or three pathogenic strains of E. coli. Aiming to simulate a natural exposure the challenge strains were spread on the floor of the pens at weaning. In addition the pigs experienced several non-infectious stress factors commonly occurring at that occasion.

Some groups were given adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), aiming to simulate a stressful weaning. The balance and the composition of the faecal coliform populations, measured by a metabolic fingerprinting method, was disturbed among all animals following weaning.

This disturbance was more pronounced and lasted longer among piglets exposed to pathogenic strains of E. coli. All piglets exposed to pathogenic E. coli shed these strains in faeces. Diarrhoea was induced in the groups exposed to E. coli, but not among the control animals.

Pigs not treated with ACTH and subjected to a single pathogenic strain of E. coli became infected but did not develop diarrhoea unless if coinciding with shed of rotavirus. Control pigs excreting rotavirus had no diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea was most frequent in the groups exposed to three pathogenic strains of E. coli, and in these groups diarrhoea was seen in the absence of rotavirus. ACTH administration amplified the clinical signs. The litter of origin influenced the development of post-weaning diarrhoea.

Source: Atlantic Swine Research Partnership - March 2004
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