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Vet Parasitol. 2012 Aug 13;188(1-2):31-40. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.02.017. Epub 2012 Mar 3.

Assessment of dietary supplementation with probiotics on performance, intestinal morphology and microflora of chickens infected with Eimeria tenella.

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Laboratory of Animal Nutrition & Husbandry, Veterinary Faculty, University of Thessaly, 43100 Karditsa, Greece.


We evaluated the effects of dietary supplementation with different preparations of probiotics on the performance of broiler chickens experimentally infected with 2 × 10(4) sporulated oocysts of Eimeria tenella at 14 days of age. Three hundred, day-old, Cobb-500 chicks, as hatched, were separated into 10 equal groups with three replicates. Two of the groups, one challenged with E. tenella oocysts and the other not, were given a basal diet and served as controls without medication. The other challenged groups were given the anticoccidial lasalocid (60 mg/kg) or Enterococcus faecium (5 × 10(8) or 5 × 10(9)cfu/kg feed), Bifidobacterium animalis (5 × 10(8)cfu/kg feed), Lactobacillus reuteri (5 × 10(8)cfu/kg feed), Bacillus subtilis (5 × 10(8)cfu/kg feed), or a multi-species probiotic mix at 5 × 10(8) or 5 × 10(9)cfu/kg feed, respectively. The trial lasted 6 weeks. Individual body weight, feed intake per pen and feed conversion ratio values were recorded weekly, along with the extent of bloody diarrhea, excreta oocyst numbers and bird mortality. Caecal lesions were assessed and intestinal samples were taken for histopathological and bacteriological evaluation from ileum and caecum. Overall growth performance of chickens fed the multi-species probiotic mix at both levels was higher (P<0.05) compared to the infected control. Overall oocyst shedding was lowest (P<0.05) in the lasalocid supplemented group. Villous height was higher (P<0.05) in Bacillus supplemented groups compared to infected controls. The Lactobacillus supplemented group had the highest (P<0.05) numbers of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in ileum and caecum. In conclusion, dietary probiotics are promising for further investigation on improving intestinal health and growth performance of broiler chickens experimentally challenged with E. tenella.

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