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Probiotics: Keep Animal Healthy with Less/no Antibiotics
What are Probiotics? They are microorganisms that are beneficial to animals, including human. So far as an animal is healthy, probiotics will have no harmful effect. But some may be harmful to unhealthy animals. So give probiotics when your animals are healthy and it will prevent a lot of intestinal diseases. There are many types of probiotics. Few of them include bacilus subtilis, bacilus licheniformis, lactic acid-producing strains like Enterococcus, Pediococcus, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium etc.

To treat and prevent diseases, farmers have relied heavily on antibiotics for decades. But it seems that this will eventually come to an end because many countries are banning the use of many antibiotics in animal production. This is because of the risk it poise to humans.

What will happen when countries no longer allow antibiotic use in farms? Scientific evidences shows that probiotics, herbs and essential oils will serve as alternatives to antibiotics.

Read: [/url]Antibiotic Resistance: How Herbs and Plant Extracts can Help
How to Make Your Own Probiotic - Lactobacillus Serum
Farm Animals: Antibiotic Withdrawal Period And How It Affects Your Health
[url=http://www.farmersjoint.com/blog/livestock-farming/farm-animals-antibiotic-withdrawal-period-affects-health/]Chicken Health: Avoiding Antibiotic Abuse through Laboratory Tests

Probiotics are very important to newly hatched chicks. Giving probiotics to your day old chick will help prevent dangerous microbes from colonizing their intestine. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. So whenever you give antibiotics to animals, follow up with a probiotics when the antibiotic therapy ends. This will prevent bad microbes from colonizing the intestine.

Below is an interesting articles from Thepoultrysite.com

Quote:Role of Probiotics in Poultry Health

A large body of evidence supports the use of probiotics to prevent or mitigate the effects of dysbacteriosis and, specifically, necrotic enteritis. Article by Alfred Blanch, Spain.

The main purpose of including food additives in compound feed for intensive poultry production is to help meet birds’ nutritional needs, with the ultimate goal of optimising production efficiency.

However, it should be noted that this objective is inextricably linked to achieving good health status and ensuring adequate welfare of the birds in question.

Thus, in addition to improving flock husbandry, the supplementation of feed or drinking water with additives plays a crucial role in ensuring flock health and welfare. This systemic action of food additives, which is particularly relevant given the growing trend towards restricting antibiotic use in poultry production, begins with their effects on intestinal health.

But what do we mean by “intestinal health”, and how is this linked to the health status and general welfare of birds? Over 2000 years ago Hippocrates stated that “all diseases begin in the gut”.

In poultry production, good intestinal health is the foundation upon which the general health and welfare of the bird is based. Intestinal health encompasses various elements or components of gastrointestinal function, including optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients, a diverse and stable microbiota, an effective intestinal immune system, a solid intestinal barrier against pathogens and toxins, and a competent neuroendocrine system.

As is well known, the work of each of these elements is not limited to the digestive tract, and their actions extend to the systemic level. Thus, any imbalance in the complex mechanisms that interlink these components of intestinal function increases the risk of systemic diseases, such as immune-mediated, metabolic, and infectious disorders, as well as intestinal diseases.

The use of probiotics

The use of probiotics in poultry diets to promote bird health is currently of particular relevance.
The WHO and FAO (2002) define probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. This definition explicitly recognises the positive effect of probiotics on the health of animals to which they are administered.
In poultry, the maintenance of a stable intestinal flora is essential to prevent dysbacteriosis, which may predispose birds to major infectious diseases such as necrotic enteritis caused by Clostridium perfringens.

The use of probiotics to prevent or mitigate the effects of dysbacteriosis and, in particular, necrotic enteritis, is broadly supported by numerous scientific publications and is widespread in intensive poultry production.

Knap and co-workers (2010) even concluded, based on their studies of chickens in commercial operations, that the probiotic use of spores of B. licheniformis may constitute an alternative to drug treatment for necrotic enteritis, and that this type of probiotic could be useful to prevent infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

The positive effect of certain probiotics on the incidence and severity of necrotic enteritis may also be due, at least in part, to their ability to mitigate the aftermath associated with avian coccidiosis and vaccines containing attenuated coccidia.

Role of probiotics at the systemic level
Regarding the role of probiotics at the systemic level, it should be noted that these types of additives are highly effective in birds that come into contact with immunosuppressive pathogens, such as certain species of Salmonella.

Of particular interest are the findings recently published by Sadeghi and co-workers (2014), which indicate that the addition of certain strains of Bacillus subtilis to the diet of immunocompromised broiler chickens infected with Salmonella enteritidis significantly increases the efficacy of vaccines against Newcastle disease and infectious bursal disease virus.

Furthermore, it should be noted that in many cases lameness in chickens is due to bacterial chondronecrosis resulting from the translocation of intestinal pathogens, as reported by the Belgian scientists Falony and Van Immerseel (2015). These findings suggest that the use of probiotics may be an effective prophylactic strategy to prevent this type of lameness.

In the coming years the addition of probiotics to poultry feed will no doubt assume a greater role in the prevention and mitigation of numerous conditions at both the intestinal and systemic levels.


Quote:Poultry production: How probiotics can play a role

Since the importance of a well-balanced gut microflora for adequate health and high performance has been recognised, feeding strategies have been directed to control the microbial GI environment by nutritional means.

A large and diverse range of bacteria are living in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of our animals and most of these bacteria form a symbiotic relationship with the host. The important role of GI microflora in health and disease of animals and humans is increasingly recognized. Nutrition is the most important factor influencing the composition and metabolic activity of the intestinal microflora.

Feeding errors, substantial dietary changes, low-quality feed components and inadequate feed hygiene all compromise the microflora. It should be a goal when formulating diets to favourably influence the microbial community in the gut and to keep up a state called Eubiosis. In this situation, the host and the microflora live together in symbiosis, meaning with mutual benefit.

Probiotics to achieve Eubiosis
Since the importance of a well-balanced gut microflora for adequate health and high performance has been recognised, feeding strategies have been directed to control the microbial GI environment by nutritional means. Especially, the use of probiotics has been shown to be an effective means of manipulating or managing the composition of the microbial population in the GI tract of animals to achieve or
re-establish the state of Eubiosis.

Intake of probiotics should result in the creation of gut microecology conditions that suppress harmful microorganisms and favour beneficial microorganisms, and ultimately enhance gut health. This is also necessary for a well-functioning and effective digestion of nutrients, resulting in good growth performance. Besides nutrient absorption, the intestine plays an important role as the biggest immune organ of the body. It is hence part of the body’s defense system and represents an important barrier against invading pathogens.

New scientific insights about probiotics
The scientific community is changing its way of looking at the mode of actions of probiotics. Since probiotics have been commercially available, they have been expected to exert their benefits derived from their ability to multiply, produce certain metabolites and colonize the surface of the intestinal epithelium.

Today (and for the last 10 years), researchers are challenging the “classic” mode of actions of probiotics with novel ones. So far, there is a good bulk of evidence suggesting that some of the effects of probiotics like the anti-inflammatory effect are mediated by fingerprints (structural molecules) rather than by the whole organisms or their ability to colonize the intestine.

In-case probiotics are also partly inactivated in the course of feed processing or antibiotic treatment at therapeutic doses; there are beneficial mechanism that do not depend on live bacteria and which will remain unaltered. As long as the effector molecules within the probiotics remain with the appropriate structure a biological effect should be expected.

Commonly used probiotic bacteria in animal feeding are lactic acid-producing strains like Enterococcus, Pediococcus, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are also genera commonly found in the poultry gut. Several scientific studies have shown that they have a beneficial effect on performance, pathogen inhibition, modulation of intestinal microflora and immuno-modulation, especially during critical times in the production cycle when a protective gut microflora is not yet established or a disrupted probiotic application exerts its benefits.

Probiotics to protect newly hatched chicks
Under normal conditions (i.e. in the wild), animals pick up their microflora from adult animals and from the environment very quickly, but under conditions of modern animal production, things are different. Commercial broiler chicks hatch in extremely clean conditions and don’t have contact with adult animals. Then they are transferred in houses previously cleaned and disinfected. For them, to build up and establish a well-balanced microflora is difficult. During that time, the chicks are not protected against the colonization with pathogenic microbes.

For the chicks, it is crucial to develop a protecting microflora as early and fast as possible, which can be supported by the application of probiotics. Probiotic products can be sprayed onto the chicks already in the hatchery or be applied via the drinking water during the first days of life. They provide conditions in the chicks’ intestines that favour the colonization by beneficial microbes.

Probiotics and antibiotic therapy
Antibiotics are useful tools to eliminate undesired pathogens. However, they also eliminate a large proportion of the beneficial microflora which needs to be re-established after the antibiotic treatments ends to avoid fast growth of opportunistic pathogens. Antibiotics may eliminate the pathogens, but they often do not sufficiently control inflammation. In many cases of pathogenic invasion, an exaggerated response of the immune system may cause even more damage than the pathogen itself.

Probiotics can help modulate the immune system. It is very common in the field to see the severe inflammation of the intestinal mucosa regardless of the ongoing antibiotic therapy. Intestinal inflammation is related to increased velocity of the intestinal content. As a consequence, feces with increased amount of humidity, gas, excess of indigested feed particles or fragments of intestinal mucosa may be a common finding derived from intestinal inflammation. Confirmation of intestinal inflammation can be obtained from necropsied animals.
The use of probiotics is recommended to fight side effects of diseases that will not be improved by the use of antibiotics. In this scenario, antibiotics in therapeutic doses should be taking care of pathogens; however, the intestinal inflammation often remains unattended. Even inactivated probiotics exert a beneficial effect reducing inflammation by means of their cellular structure and particularly their intact DNA molecules and receptors, which are unique to every probiotic strain.

Probiotics and Necrotic enteritis
Necrotic enteritis is one of the world’s most common and financially crippling poultry diseases, which when triggered can cause mortality rates of up to 50%. A team of USDA research scientist has investigated if the use of a multi-species probiotic may be beneficial in the control of poultry diseases, which are related to Clostridium perfringens. In conclusion, the data of these studies suggest that the probiotic was able to control poultry diseases like Necrotic enteritis and Gangrenous dermatitis.

The use of probiotic products can provide the poultry industry with an alternative management tool that has the potential to promote better intestinal health by managing the composition of the microbial population in the GI tract, to protect poultry flocks from infections with pathogenic bacteria and to decrease monetary losses due to pathogens.

Read more about nutritional solutions in poultry production to combat stress and disease.

Michaela Mohnl DI (MSc), product manager for probiotics at BIOMIN Holding GmbH Michaela.mohnl@biomin.net

Useful info. Tnks.

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