The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of feed restriction on the intestinal ecosystem and on the pathogenesis of experimental necrotic enteritis in broiler chicks. To induce subclinical necrotic enteritis, an experimental challenge model using a specific diet formulation,
Gumboro vaccination, oral inoculation of broilers with a 10-fold dose of attenuated anticoccidial vaccine and multiple oral inoculations with a specific strain of Clostridium perfringens was adopted. Two hundred and forty 1-day-old Cobb 500 broilers were randomly allocated to four groups:
feed restricted, challenged, both feed restricted and challenged, and negative control. At 21, 22, 23 and 24 days of age, the intestines, gizzard and liver were collected from 15 birds in each group and scored for gross lesions. The intestinal digesta was collected for pH and viscosity determination.
One caecum from each bird was taken for microbiological analysis. The application of feed restriction in birds challenged with C. perfringens reduced the necrotic enteritis lesion score significantly (P ≤ 0.05) and feed restriction significantly reduced (P ≤ 0.05)
pH in the small intestine, the viscosity of the jejunum digesta as well as the C. perfringens counts in the caeca compared with the controls. In conclusion, feed restriction of broilers has a positive effect on the intestinal ecosystem and a significant protective effect against necrotic
enteritis in the subclinical experimental model.
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Document Type: Research Article
Unit of Avian Medicine, Clinic of Farm Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Laboratory of Animal Production Economics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Laboratory of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
Laboratory of Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
March 4, 2014
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