Gut Microbes May Be Tool for Control of Brachyspira

28 November 2012, at 9:09am

CANADA - Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are hoping to harness the microbial populations in the guts of pigs as a defence against Brachyspira, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Brachyspira is the bacteria that causes swine dysentery including diarrhoea, sometimes bloody diarrhoea and chronic weight loss in pigs.

As part of a project being conducted on behalf of the Canadian Swine Health Board, researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan have been examining the microbial populations in the guts of Brachyspira-infected pigs.

Dr Matheus Costa, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says we need to know how the microbial population shifts once Brachyspira has caused infection.

Dr Matheus Costa - University of Saskatchewan

Microbes are present in many different places.

The gut is heavily populated by microbes in both healthy and sick animals so perfectly healthy pigs have microbes and sick animals have microbes as well.

Sometimes though what we see is that the microbial population plays a major role in preventing pathogens such as bacteria just like Brachyspira to cause a disease.

The reason why we want to investigate what happens when pigs get infected by Brachyspira is that we want to see if there are any changes in the microbial population of the colon.

If there are, are there any patterns we can spot?

Eventually by doing this research it will give us some hints on what can we do to prevent the disease, or prevent infection, sometimes control the severity of the infection in pigs.

Dr Costa says experiments are just wrapping up and data analysis will start just before Christmas.

He says the hope is to identify some possible control factors or possible preventive factors to prevent the infection or least reduce its severity.

Further Reading

Find out more information on swine dysentery by clicking here.