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Title: Effect of probiotic supplementation on pig health
Author: Davies, Helen Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2011
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The weaning process is a problem in the pig industry as piglets exhibit a halt in growth; known as the post-weaning growth check. This is a result of a change in piglet diet from milk to feed, exposure to a novel environment, removal from the sow and mixing with non-litter mates. These factors result in the disruption of gastrointestinal microbiota, and proliferation of pathogens such as rotavirus, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) and Salmonella. Probiotics are reported to have general beneficial effects on pig health and performance. In addition, Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii (SCB) has reported specific antagonistic activities against Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli and rotavirus. The newly developed enrichment PCR method was shown to be more sensitive for ETEC detection than current methods, although less so for Salmonella detection. The semi-quantitative RAPD PCR based yeast method, also developed here, was highly effective at enumerating and distinguishing probiotic SCB from pig faeces. Probiotic effect on piglet performance was highly variable as pig performance was improved (feed conversion efficiency, time to reach slaughter), but not consistently. SCB supplementation was able to decrease the enteric coliform load in the pig postweaning, although these effects were transitory. Probiotic effects on diversity were limited; although there were some shifts in the bacterial populations post-weaning. However, there is potential for control of the post-weaning growth check via gender as this affected both performance and the enteric microbiota. The most profound effect on pigs was the process of weaning as it resulted in delayed weight gain, decreased lactobacilli, a shift in the enteric microbiota and high levels of ETEC and Salmonella. A prevalence of bacterial pathogens was preceded by the presence of rotavirus. This suggests there is an exacerbation of infection with multiple infectious agents. Understanding the dynamics of disease has the potential to facilitate control of these pathogens in pig herds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available