The effect of an oral treatment or prevention programme, incorporating the antibiotic tiamulin, on the development of proliferative enteropathy in experimentally challenged pigs was studied. Twenty weaner pigs were challenged orally with a virulent inoculum of Lawsonia intracellularis strain LR189/5/83, a British isolate of the causative agent of porcine proliferative enteropathy, and seven control pigs were dosed with a buffer solution. Seven of the 20 challenged pigs were left untreated; they gained less weight than the controls and three of them developed mild to moderate diarrhoea two weeks after the challenge. All seven developed lesions, six visible grossly, of proliferative enteropathy, and numerous intracellular L intracellularis were detected in sections of the intestines examined three weeks after the challenge. To test a ‘prevention’ dosing strategy for tiamulin, six of the challenged pigs were dosed orally with 50 ppm tiamulin, incorporated in a 2 per cent stabilised premix, given from two days before the challenge until they were euthanased. To test a ‘treatment’ strategy, the remaining group of seven challenged pigs were dosed orally with 150 ppm tiamulin given in the premix from seven days after challenge until they were euthanased. All the control pigs and the 13 pigs treated with tiamulin, either before or after challenge, remained clinically normal and had no specific lesions of proliferative enteropathy in sections of the intestines examined post mortem.
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