Feed composition in herds with or without postweaning Escherichia coli diarrhea in early-weaned piglets
François Cardinal, DVM, MSc; Sylvie D'Allaire, DVM, MSc, PhD; John M. Fairbrother, BVSc, PhD
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Objective: To conduct a preliminary screening of possible risk factors associated with water and feed composition for postweaning Escherichia coli diarrhea (PWECD) in early-weaned piglets.
Methods: A case-control study was conducted in Québec, Canada, including 34 herds with weaning age less than 22 days: 17 herds in which PWECD did not occur (Control; Group C) and 17 affected herds (Diarrhea; Group D). Diagnoses of PWECD with colibacillary shock were confirmed by a provincial diagnostic laboratory. Information on rations used in the nursery was collected during a farm visit. Each ration was analyzed, and electrolytic balance was calculated. Rations fed the day before the first occurrence of diarrhea in Group D herds were compared to median values for rations fed on the same postweaning days in Group C herds. Drinking water samples were also analyzed.
Results: Higher levels of soybean and canola products (sources of vegetal proteins) were used in Group D herds the day before the first occurrence of diarrhea. Calcium and magnesium levels were higher and zinc concentrations and electrolytic balance were lower in the feeds of Group D herds than in the feeds of Group C herds. There was no relationship between water composition and PWECD status.
Implications: Feed content may play a role in the occurrence of PWECD. Protein of animal origin should be included in the feed for the first 3 weeks post weaning, and high calcium levels should be avoided for 1 week. Zinc oxide supplementation is beneficial in reducing incidence of PWECD.
Keywords: postweaning diarrhea, Escherichia coli, colibacillary shock, nursery feed
Cite as: Cardinal F, D'Allaire S, Fairbrother JM. Feed composition in herds with or without postweaning Escherichia coli diarrhea in early-weaned piglets. J Swine Health Prod 2006;14(1):10-17.
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