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The evolution with age of clostridium perfringens concentration in soft faeces in relation with epizootic rabbit enteropathy symptoms
Research Areas
  • Animal production
Clostridium perfringens has been shown to play an important role in the development of the Epizootic Rabbit Enteropathy (ERE). The average count of C. perfringens in the caecal contents of young rabbits was found to be highly correlated with average diarrhea mortality in the fattening period, whereas high counts (>2 x 106 cfu/g) of C. perfringens were related with the appearance of the clinical signs of ERE. Accordingly, the caecal enumeration of C. perfringens might be used as a good indicator of ERE. Furthermore, C. perfringens enumeration in soft faeces was found to be highly correlated with its concentration in caecum. The present work aimed to follow the evolution with age of C. perfringens concentration by means of the caecotrophs excreted by rabbits and to look for a correlation between these values and the weight gain of the rabbit at each age. Thirty-eight rabbits, weaned at 31 d of age, were weighed and fitted a neck collar during four hours (from 08:00 to 12:00) at 34, 38, 41, 45 and 48 d of age. They were fed a common commercial diet, not supplemented with antibiotics, and housed individually in flat-deck cages. No significant effect of age on C. perfringens concentration in soft faeces was detected. Mean counts were respectively: 5.30±0.97, 5.00±0.99, 4.95±0.97, 5.25±0.99 and 5.13±0.98 log cfu/g at 34, 38, 41, 45 and 48 d. Ten rabbits among the thirtyeight used in this trial presented clinical ERE signs, such as low body weight, aqueous diarrhoea and mucus excretion. These animals had a higher (P<0.001) C. perfringens concentration than healthy ones: 6.50±0.69 vs. 4.97±0.95 log cfu/g. Values in diseased animals ranged from 5.23 to 8.45 log cfu/g. Regression procedures were used to relate daily weight gain (DWG, g/d) and body weight (W, g) with the C. perfringens concentration in the soft faeces (CPsf, log cfu/g). The regression equations obtained were: DWG=57.2 (±6.20)¿2.21 (±1.19) CPsf; P=0.07 and W=1680 (±189)¿65.1 (±36.1) CPsf; P=0.08. Even if the C. perfringens proliferation in soft faeces increased, ill animals were able to survive but ended the fattening period weighing less than the others, so that mortality is not the only economic loss in a ERE situation. In conclusion, caecotrophs can be used as a tool in evolutionary microbiological studies and the weight loss is both a ERE sign and an important economic loss.
9th World Rabbit Congress
Verona (Italia)
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End Date
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Proceedings of the 9th World Rabbit Congress
  • Autor: Juan Carlos de Blas Beorlegui (UPM)
  • Autor: Nuria Nicodemus Martin (UPM)
Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Producción Animal
  • Departamento: Producción Animal
S2i 2019 Observatorio de investigación @ UPM con la colaboración del Consejo Social UPM
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