GASTROINTESTINAL diseases in pigs can have a large number of different causes and, depending on their severity and distribution in a herd, may result in significant economic losses due to mortalities and/or poor and uneven growth rates. Specific enteric bacterial pathogens are responsible for a large proportion of this disease burden and the control of such infections can be difficult. Effective vaccines are available for only a few of these diseases and thus control often requires the implementation of a combination of different management strategies, usually involving considerable routine prophylactic antimicrobial usage. Unfortunately, the associated bacterial pathogens are increasingly found to have reduced susceptibilities to antibiotics, and this coincides with mounting societal and regulatory pressures to reduce routine antimicrobial therapy for all animal species. Veterinary surgeons and producers therefore need alternative means of controlling such infections. This article outlines how the management of some enteric diseases in pigs might be improved by dietary modification.
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