The potential of probiotics for the swine industry

June 06, 2019
Pigs
© Weerawad Ruangjaroon / Dreamstime.com

Porcine rotavirus is a major enteric (intestinal) pathogen that causes substantial economic losses to farmers. It has caused viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in weaning piglets and diarrheal disease in suckling piglets. Enteric viral infections also increase the risk of secondary bacterial infections.

Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to treat viral or bacterial gastroenteritis, but their improper use  contributes to antibiotic resistance. Containing major enteric viral pathogens of livestock is critical for swine health and production, but poor biosecurity practices in many developing countries and the lack of effective vaccines and antivirals present major challenges in controlling rotaviruses.

Innovative use of probiotics

Probiotics improve livestock health and feed efficiency, but their antiviral effects have been inconclusive, inconsistent, or incomplete. The research seeks to understand whether certain underappreciated mechanisms of probiotics can provide in-feed alternatives to antibiotics to combat enteric viruses and the associated secondary bacterial infections.

Expected results

The objective is to design a better-targeted probiotic intervention to reduce porcine infectious diarrhea. Successful uptake of these probiotics has the potential to reduce the use of antibiotics and improve sustainability of the swine industry in developing countries.

Lead institutions

This project is a collaboration between Ohio State University in the USA and the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

•  Duration: 33 months

•  Budget: CA$1,501,400