Necrotic enteritis and subclinical forms of Clostridium perfringens infections are widespread in poultry farming. The disease is actually a enterotoxaemia and lesions are caused by the toxins alpha toxin, secreted by Clostridium perfringens type A and Clostridium perfringens type C, and by beta toxin, secreted only by Clostridium perfringens type C.
Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, anaerobic bacteria that can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediments, intestinal tract of humans, poultry, swine and other vertebrates and soil.
Healthy animals are asymptomatic carriers of the bacteria, and enterotoxaemia occurs either following an alteration in the intestinal microflora or after damages in intestinal mucosa.
Predisposing factors are:
- Coccidia infection (the most well-known predisposing factor).
- Sudden changes in diet.
- Diets that contain wheat, rye or fish meal (viscous diets, with poor digestibility).
- Changes in the normal intestinal microflora.
The signs observed depend on the severity of the infection: depression, ruffled feathers, anorexia, poor and not uniform growth, gas in intestines, diarrhea, necrosis of intestinal mucosa, sudden mortality (2-50%).
Diagnosis is made by observation of gross lesions and by Gram-staining of mucosal scraping. Clostridium perfringens can be isolated by microbiological methods to confirm the diagnosis.
Typically, treatment is done by administering antibiotics such as lincomycin, bacitracin or penicillin by drinking water, for 5 to 7 days.
For the prevention of the disease, a strategy to prevent coccidiosis must be adopted, together with nutritional measures aimed at increasing the digestibility of feed.
Antibiotic growth promoters have been used so far in poultry industry to prevent necrotis enteritis. In areas where they are banned, the incidence of the disease has increased, so it is necessary to find natural substitutes that are effective against the infection.
The picture below shows the ability of PlusProtect Digestive® to inhibit the growth of Clostridium perfringens in RCM medium, using a modification of the technique described by Barnes and Ingram. The growth of Clostridium perfringens is detected by the presence of colonies and formation of gas. Tubes containing the product show complete inhibition of Clostridium perfringens at the recommended doses (1 ml/L, 0.5 ml/L, 0.25 ml/L).
PlusProtect Digestive® is a liquid product containing cinnamon and marjoram. It is given to poultry through drinking water as a natural growth promoter and to prevent digestive diseases caused by fungi and bacteria. It can be used to totally or partially replace antibiotic growth promoters.
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The picture of Clostridium in the header was found here http://biology-pictures.blogspot.com.es/2011/11/clostridium-difficile.html
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