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The role of an attenuated anticoccidial vaccine on the intestinal ecosystem and on the pathogenesis of experimental necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens

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The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of an attenuated anticoccidial vaccination on the intestinal ecosystem and on the pathogenesis of experimental necrotic enteritis (NE) in broiler chickens. Two hundred and forty 1-day-old Cobb 500 broiler chickens were randomly allocated to four treatment groups according to the following experimental design: control Group N; Group PN, where birds were vaccinated with anticoccidial vaccine; Group M, where birds were challenged with Clostridium perfringens and with Eimeria maxima; and Group PM, where birds were both vaccinated and challenged. From each bird, the intestine, gizzard and liver were scored for gross NE lesions. Intestinal digesta were collected for pH and viscosity determination. Samples from the gastrointestinal tract and liver were taken for microbiological analysis. Evaluation of the experimental data revealed that Group M had significantly higher overall mean NE intestinal lesions compared with Group PM. Viscosity values of jejunum digesta as well as pH values of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum digesta in Group M were significantly lower compared with Group PM. C. perfringens counts in the caeca of Group PM were significantly lower compared with Group M. The milder decrease of pH and viscosity values of intestinal content and the reduction of C. perfringens counts in the caeca in challenged and vaccinated birds may explain the lower score of NE gross intestinal lesions and may suggest a positive effect on intestinal ecosystem and a significant protective effect of attenuated anticoccidial vaccination against NE in a subclinical experimental model.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Unit of Avian Medicine, Clinic of Farm Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece 2: Laboratory of Animal Production Economics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece 3: Laboratory of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece 4: Laboratory of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece 5: Laboratory of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece 6: Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133B-9820,Merelbeke, Belgium 7: Laboratory of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Aristotle University, 54627,Thessaloniki, Greece

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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