Evaluation of intervention strategies for idiopathic diarrhea in commercial turkey brooding houses
2005 Poultry Science Association, Inc. Evaluation of Intervention Strategies for Idiopathic Diarrhea in Commercial Turkey Brooding Houses S. E. Higgins,* A. Torres-Rodriguez,* J. L. Vicente,* C. D. Sartor,* C. M. Pixley,* G. M. Nava,* G. Tellez,* J. T. Barton,* and B. M. Hargis*,1 *University of Arkansas, Department of Poultry Science, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701Primary Audience: Veterinarians, Researchers, Nutritionists, Growers In 3 separate commercial turkey brooder houses, we compared the effects of selected probiotic bacteria or antibiotics on performance of poults within a complex that was routinely experiencing mild idiopathic diarrhea and stunting. In all experiments, treatments of probiotic cultures or antibiotics were administered in the water. Poults were tagged and placed into individual pens (20 per pen, 4 replicate pens per treatment) within the brooding house, and performance was evaluated by body weight or body weight gain. In the first experiment, poults receiving 1 of 2 probiotic cultures weighed significantly more than nontreated or antibiotic-treated poults. In the second experiment, there were no significant differences among any of the groups. A third experiment was performed during a clinically significant Salmonella seftenburg infection. In this experiment, poults receiving antibiotics followed by a probiotic culture had significantly higher weight gain than nontreated or probiotic-treated poults. Key words: antibiotic, probiotic, poult, turkey, brooding, performance 2005 J. Appl. Poult. Res. 14:345–348 DESCRIPTION OF PROBLEM
was performed to evaluate the effectiveness oftypical prophylactic antibiotic use compared
In northwest Arkansas and other areas of the
with use of probiotics, or a combination of both,
United States, some turkey growers are suffering
in turkey brooding houses. In each case, the
losses due to idiopathic diarrhea in the brooding
antimicrobial chemotherapy selected mimicked
house, commonly thought to be initiated by
selection by the commercial turkey producer,
astrovirus or other enteric viruses. Clinical re-
based upon historical diagnostic testing and clin-
sponse to therapeutic antibiotics has led to the
belief that these enteric conditions are oftencomplicated by secondary bacteria. In our area,
MATERIALS AND METHODS
this occurs in approximately 30% of brooding
houses during warm weather and affects poultsbetween 1 and 3 wk of age. Clinical signs include
diarrhea, listlessness, and lack of weight gain.
houses, deemed likely to experience an outbreak
Mortality can vary from 0 to 10%. This research
of idiopathic diarrhea, were selected based upon
1To whom correspondence should be addressed: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TABLE 1. Treatments administered and mean body weight in experiment 1
a,bDifferent letters within columns indicate significant differences (P < 0.05).
1Antibiotics were administered in the drinking water on the direction of a licensed veterinarian within the bounds of a validveterinarian-client-patient relationship. 2At 0.012% in the drinking water. 3There was 71.5 g of neomycin sulfate per 128 gal of drinking water. 4Days of administration are expressed as the age of the poults at the time of treatment. 5Mean body weights were measured on d 21of age, the experiment began on d 7.
clinical experiences in the immediately preced-
ing flock. Three trials were conducted during
the summer of 2003. Poults within one house for
old, the day after the surrounds (brooder rings)
each experiment were compared. Within each
were removed. Sixteen pens were placed down
house, we assembled 1.22 × 1.22 m wire panel
the center aisle of the house, and 18 poults were
pens, with additional small mesh wire across the
placed in each pen as described above. Four
bottom of each panel. The panels were assem-
treatments were evaluated, with 4 replicate pens
bled with cable ties and placed in a single row
for each treatment. Treatments were adminis-
along the center aisles of the brooding houses.
tered as described below. Poults that received
We used a maximum of 16 pens, with treatments
probiotic 1 or 2 also received a commercial or-
assigned to pens in a block random fashion. Each
ganic acidifier  in the drinking water for 1 d
pen was equipped with a single feeder and 20-
prior to probiotic administration (see Table 1).
L drinker. Poults were hand-fed and watered
Antibiotics were administered for 7 d according
daily throughout the duration of the experiment.
to label-directed dilutions [4, 5] , and probiotics
Water treatments were administered as de-
were administered at intervals between d 7 and
scribed for each experiment. Feed for each ex-
21. Control poults received no treatments.
periment contained 0.1875% nitarsone  butno other medication. On d 1 of each experiment,
poults were trapped with panels in different areasof the brooding house and were randomly as-
Experiment 2 was performed on a different
signed to pens. They were each tagged and
farm from experiment 1 and began when poults
weighed on the first day of the experiment and
were 8 d old. The experimental design was the
weighed again at intervals throughout the experi-
same as experiment 1, and the treatments were
ment. Mean weights and weight gain were used
similar as described in Table 2 [4, 5].
to evaluate the efficacy of the probiotics or anti-biotics on poult performance. Experiment 3
In experiment 3, poults were already experi-
encing a severe outbreak of enteritis when the
study began. Clinical signs included severe diar-
these experiments. Probiotic 1 contained 2 bacte-
rhea, low feed and water consumption, list-
rial isolates: Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacil-
lessness, and mortality. The Arkansas State Di-
lus bulgaricus. Probiotic 2 contained 11 isolates,
agnostic Laboratory in Springdale, Arkansas,
including the isolates from probiotic 1: 3 Lacto-
confirmed that the only pathogen identified in
bacillus bulgaricus, 3 Lactobacillus fermentum,
this specific outbreak was Salmonella seften-
2 Lactobacillus casei, 2 Lactobacillus cellobio-burg. The experiment began when poults were
sus, and 1 Lactobacillus helveticus .
12 d old and continued until the flock was 47 d
TABLE 2. Treatments administered and mean body weight in experiment 2
aDifferent letters within columns indicate significant differences (P < 0.05).
1Antibiotics were administered in the drinking water on the direction of a licensed veterinarian within the bounds of a validveterinarian-client-patient relationship. 2At 0.012% in the drinking water. 3There was 71.5 g of neomycin sulfate per 128 gal of drinking water. 4Days of administration are expressed as the age of the poults at the time of treatment. 5Mean body weights were measured on d 33 of age, the experiment began on d 8.
old. Only 12 pens with 20 poults per pen were
ysis. On d 21, the poults that received probiotic
evaluated, and 3 treatment groups were evalu-
2 had significantly higher mean body weight
ated. Poults that received probiotic 1 or 2 did
than control poults (Table 1). However, the
not receive commercial acidifier in the water
poults receiving antibiotics or probiotic 1 did
before probiotic treatment in this experiment .
not have significantly higher body weights than
Chemotherapeutic treatments were selected by
the nontreated control poults. Mortality was not
the company veterinarian and were followed by
different among treatments in this experiment.
probiotic 1 (with one additional roxarsone treat-
ment on d 26) as described in Table 3 [4, 5, 7, 8].
d 15, 25, and 33. There were no significant dif-
ferences in weight or weight gain at any time
using the least squares means test and were fur-
during the experiment, and data from replicate
ther separated using the general linear models
pens were pooled (Table 2). Mortality also was
not different among pens or treatments.
In the third experiment, poults were weighed
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
at 12, 29, and 47 d of age. As in the previous 2
experiments, mortality was not different among
during experiment 1. Poults were clinically nor-
pens or treatments. Due to the lack of uniformity
mal in this experiment. There were no significant
within each pen at the beginning of the experi-
differences between pens receiving the same
ment, we calculated the mean weight gain from
treatment, so replicate pens were pooled for anal-
the individual weight gain of each poult. Mean
TABLE 3. Treatments administered and mean body weight gain in experiment 3
a,bDifferent letters within columns indicate significant differences (P < 0.05).
1Antibiotics were administered in the drinking water on the direction of a licensed veterinarian within the bounds of a validveterinarian-client-patient relationship. 2Five hundred million units of Penicillin G Potassium per 128 gal of drinking water. 3There was 28.3 g of roxarsone per 256 gal of drinking water. 4There was 71.5 g of neomycin sulfate per 128 gal of drinking water. 5Days of administration are expressed as the age of the poults at the time of treatment.
weight gain between d 12 and 47 are shown in
the experiment between d 29 and 47 we found
Table 3. Poults receiving the antibiotics followed
that poults receiving probiotic 2 did not have
by probiotic 1 gained significantly more weight
significantly lower gain than those receiving an-
than probiotic 2 alone or untreated controls.
When we evaluated weight gain at the end of
CONCLUSIONS AND APPLICATIONS
1. In experiments 1 and 2, we found that prophylactic administration of a selected probiotic culture
regimen resulted in performance that was either significantly higher than or equal to that ofpoults receiving a selected antibiotic treatment regime.
2. In experiment 3, in the presence of a severe bacterial infection, poults that received a selected
antibiotic regimen followed by treatment with probiotic 1 had significantly higher weight gainover the duration of the experiment compared with the probiotic 2 alone or no treatment.
3. These data suggest that some probiotic culture treatment regimens may provide measurable
protection against some enteric disease problems in poults. However, as in the case of experiment3, appropriately selected therapeutic antimicrobial treatment regimes, followed by selectedprobiotic use, are sometimes more effective than the evaluated probiotic treatment regimesalone for treating clinical enteritis. REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. Histostat-50, Alpharma, Fort Lee, NJ.
unpublished data in commercial houses using automated water linesthat this was indeed true. However, during the course of the present
2. Each bacterial isolate was grown individually in MRS broth
studies, we observed in our laboratory trials that pretreatment with
and combined for administration in the drinking water. They were
a water acidifier in our individual drinkers did not affect the ability
administered with 0.1% skim milk as a stabilizer.
of these cultures to reduce Salmonella infection, possibly supporting
3. Perform-Max, Wynco LLC, Lowell, AR.
the idea that biofilms within commercial water lines may interferewith delivery of selected microflora. As we were using individual
4. Amprolium 128, administered at 0.012% in the drinking
pen waterers in this study, we elected to forego the water acidification
water, manufactured by Merial Limited, Duluth, GA, distributed by
in the third experiment. As we do not have a final conclusion on the
Phibro Animal Health, Fairfield, NJ.
value of water line acidification, we would prefer to not complicate
5. Neo-Sol 50, 71.5 g of neomycin sulfate per 128 gal of drink-
the manuscript with these speculations.
7. R-Pen, 500 million units of Penicillin G Potassium per 128
6. The importance of the use of a water acidifier in these trials
gal of drinking water, Alpharma, Fort Lee, NJ.
is not known. Anecdotal evidence with a commercially available
8. 3-Nitro W, 28.3 g of roxarsone per 256 gal of drinking water,
probiotic suggested that treatment of commercial water lines with
an acidifier may increase the efficacy perhaps because the acidifiersreduce biofilm capture of the microorganisms or for other unknown
9. SAS Institute. 1991. SAS User’s Guide. SAS Institute Inc.,
reasons. At the time these experiments were initiated, we had limited
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