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The use of soft faeces for the prediction of the caecal contents concentration of clostridium perfringens in rabbits weaned at two ages
Áreas de investigación
  • Producción animal
Since its emergence in 1997, the Epizootic Rabbit Enteropathy (ERE) has become a severe disease affecting Europe almost as a whole. The aetiological agent remains to be identified, even if several researchers have shown the bacterium Gram-positive Clostridium perfringens to be involved in ERE development. The average count of Clostridium perfringens in the caecal contents of young rabbits was found to be highly correlated with average diarrhea mortality in the fattening period (R2=0.92; P<0.001), whereas high counts (>2 x 106 cfu/g) of Clostridium perfringens were related with the appearance of the clinical signs of ERE. Accordingly, the caecal enumeration of Clostridium perfringens might be used as a good indicator of ERE. However, previous slaughter of rabbits is required to make this determination. Slaughter might be avoided by using samples of caecotrophs. In this context, the main aim of this work was to develop a method leading to estimate the caecal contents counts of Clostridium perfringens through its concentration in the rabbit soft faeces. Fortyfour rabbits weaned at 28 or 42 d of age were used. Animals were fed a common commercial diet, not supplemented with antibiotics, and housed in pairs in flat-deck cages. Nine days after weaning, rabbits were fitted neck plastic collars during four hours (from 08:00 to 12:00). Afterwards, they were slaughtered and both their soft faeces excretion and caecal contents were sampled in order to determine the concentration (cfu/g) of Clostridium perfringens. This concentration was determined by plate counting according to the standard ISO 7937 (1997). Values were transformed to a logarithmic scale to homogenize variances. Eight out of the 44 animals used did not excrete soft faeces; five of them showed clinical symptoms of ERE. Otherwise, concentration of Clostridium perfringens in the caecal contents tended to be higher in animals weaned at 28 than at 42 days of age (5.46 vs. 5.13 log cfu/g), although differences did not reach significance levels. Regression procedures were used to relate Clostridium perfringens quantification in the soft faeces (CPsf, log cfu/g) with that of the caecal contents (CPc, log cfu/g) for each rabbit. The regression equation obtained was: CPc=0.622+0.858 CPsf (r=+0.885, RSD=0.529; P<0.001). In conclusion, collecting and analyzing soft faeces could be used as an alternative method to predict the content of Clostridium perfringens in the caecal contents of rabbits before presenting symptoms of ERE.
Nombre congreso
9th world Rabbit Congress
Tipo de participación
Lugar del congreso
Verona (Italia)
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Título de las actas
Proceedings of the 9th World Rabbit Congress
Esta actividad pertenece a memorias de investigación
  • Autor: Juan Carlos de Blas Beorlegui (UPM)
  • Autor: Nuria Nicodemus Martin (UPM)
Grupos de investigación, Departamentos, Centros e Institutos de I+D+i relacionados
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Producción Animal
  • Departamento: Producción Animal
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