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Early weaning programs have been aimed at the control and elimination of respiratory infections in the young pig. Segregation from their dams at less than 21 days, batch rearing with all-in and all-out by room, building, or site, and proper biosecurity (cleaning, disinfecting, and quarantine) are mandatory to implement early weaning programs1. Early weaning with all its components gives a tremendous economic advantage to those who use this technology. This technology however does not come without a cost. This requires necessary building sites, scheduling and a high level of management. Enteric infections such as neonatal coccidiosis and post weaning diarrhea problems have not been prevented by early wean programs. Although the Pork Quality Assurance Program has been developed to achieve the highly desirable goal of reduced antibiotic use, there are feed and water medication is needed for prevention and control of enteric infections. We are interested in the effects of low levels of conventional water and feed grade antibiotic treatments on performance and immunological parameters of the young pig infected with the common enteric pathogens, E. coli and rotavirus. Previously, we had tested this treatment at both a research facility and a commercial operation and had shown increased production and decreased immunological response in the treated animals23. We have established that the use of such a program would be a benefit to those producers who do not have the production facilities that would allow early weaning (7-10 days) and/or multi-site production. However the effect of these oral treatments on minimizing production losses and activation of the immune system following infection with enteric infections has not been established. The purpose of this study was to measure production and immunological parameters in orally medicated and control animals following a post weaning E. coli and rotavirus challenge.

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South Dakota State University


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