The efficacy of oxytetracycline treatment at batch, pen and individual level on Lawsonia intracellularis infection in nursery pigs in a randomised clinical trial

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Antimicrobial consumption in animal husbandry is of great scientific and political concern due to the risk of selection of resistant bacteria. Whilst a reduction in the use of antimicrobials is therefore preferable, the efficacy of treatment must be maintained in order to ensure animal welfare and profitability of pig production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of three treatment strategies under field conditions against Lawsonia intracellularis (LI)-related diarrhoea. A randomised clinical trial was carried out in four Danish pig herds, including a total of 520 pigs from 36 nursery batches. A high prevalence of LI was demonstrated in all herds prior to the initiation of the study. Treatment efficacy was assessed by faecal shedding of LI, the occurrence of diarrhoea and average daily weight gain (ADG) after treatment. All strategies were implemented at batch level at presence of LI-related diarrhoea and included daily treatment with 10mg oxytetracycline (OTC) per kilogram of bodyweight for 5 days, though the OTC was administered differently: either by oral treatment of all pigs in a batch, by oral treatment of pigs in diarrhoeic pens only, or by intramuscular treatment of individual diarrhoeic pigs only. The treatment strategies were randomly allocated to batches and were initiated at the presence of diarrhoea. From the included batches, 100% of the trial pigs were medicated in the batch treatment strategy, 87% in the pen treatment strategy and 55% in the individual treatment strategy. All strategies reduced the occurrence of diarrhoea and faecal shedding of LI after treatment. However, batch treatment was found to be most efficient in reducing both high-level LI shedding and diarrhoea when compared to the treatment of diarrhoeic pens or individual diarrhoeic pigs. There was no significant difference identified in ADG between the treatment strategies. In conclusion, batch treatment of all pigs in a section resulted in the highest efficacy for reducing diarrhoea and faecal shedding of LI.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

ID: 153823486