Postweaning diarrhea is a common issue in pig production which is currently controlled by feed supplementation with zinc oxide (ZnO). However, new alternatives are being sought due to an upcoming ban on ZnO in pig feed rations in the EU.
One possible alternative would be to use novel types of probiotics, those consisting of microbiota characteristic of healthy weaned piglets, according to a paper published in Research in Veterinary Science.
In their study, the animal scientists outlined how they collected rectal swabs of piglets three days before weaning and four days after that critical period. The animals in question were based at a commercial pig farm.
The team said they considered all known risks of field trial work including the use of antibiotics, and they classified the piglets as predisposed, healthy or sick.
“Using 16S rRNA sequencing, we determined and compared the microbiota composition [of the piglets].
“Increased Actinobacteria before weaning was a marker of piglets predisposed for diarrhea.
“Increased Chlamydia or Helicobacter before weaning was surprisingly a marker of healthy and resistant piglets after weaning,” they wrote.
After weaning, unclassified Clostridiales, Deltaproteobacteria, Selenomonadales, Fusobacterium, Akkermansia or Anaerovibrio rose in the microbiota of piglets with postweaning diarrhea while an increase in Prevotella and Faecalibacterium was characteristic of healthy, weaned piglets, noted the team.
“Changes in individual microbiota members and also correct timing of microbiota reshaping around weaning and the increase of mainly Prevotella species just after weaning are equally important for resistance to postweaning diarrhea in piglets under field conditions,” they concluded.
Source: Research in Veterinary Science
Title: Development of piglet gut microbiota at the time of weaning influences development of postweaning diarrhea – A field study
Authors: D Karasova, M Crhanova, V Babak, M Jerabek, L Brzobohaty, Z Matesova, I Rychlik