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Poult Sci. 2004 Dec;83(12):1948-52.

Evaluation of immunosuppressants and dietary mechanisms in an experimental disease model for necrotic enteritis.

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US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, Texas 77845, USA.


Clostridium perfringens (CP) is the etiologic agent of necrotic enteritis (NE). Clinical signs of this disease include depression, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and severe necrosis of the intestinal tract. Understanding the disease progression of NE has been difficult due to its complexity and the involvement of multiple factors (dietary components, immunosuppression, and mechanical irritation of the gut) that appear to contribute to this syndrome. In the present investigation, day-of-hatch broilers were fed a 55% wheat diet and randomly assigned to 1 of 8 groups. Treatments included positive control (CP challenge only), commercial coccidia vaccine (CCV), commercial bursal disease vaccine (CBDV), or the combination of CCV and CBDV, and an appropriate negative control for each (vaccinated and not challenged). Challenged treatment groups received 10(7) cfu of CP twice daily. When compared with controls, broilers in each treatment group had increased (P < or = 0.05) lesion scores, with mean scores of 1.05 and 2.05 in the CP and CBDV + CP treatments, respectively. When compared with controls, the incidence of CP increased (P < or = 0.05) in all treatment groups (73 and 100% in the CCV + CP and CBDV + CP treatment groups, respectively). Compared with controls, percentage mortality increased (P < or = 0.05) from 2% to 26 and 34% in the CP and CBDV + CP treatment groups, respectively. Results of this study indicate that the methodology used provides a good model for studying NE.

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