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Danish scientists closer define NNPD syndrome in piglets

After intensive studies, Danish scientists have come up with a nearer definition of Neonatal Porcine Diarrhoea (NNPD) syndrome, which has entered Danish pig farms over the last couple of years.

Based on the findings in studied herds the following case-definition of NNPDS was suggested: Non-haemorrhagic diarrhoea during the first week of life, without detection of known infectious pathogens, characterised by milk-filled stomachs and flaccid intestines at necropsy.

The study was carried out in four well-managed herds and the results supported the hypothesis that a NNPD was present in the investigated herds, since no known pathogen(s) or management factors could explain the diarrhoeal outbreaks.

Neonatal diarrhoea is a frequent clinical condition in commercial swine herds, previously regarded to be uncomplicated to treat. However, since 2008 it seems that a new neonatal diarrhoeic syndrome unresponsive to antibiotics and common management practices has emerged. Routine laboratory examinations have not detected any pathogen related to this syndrome.

The primary purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate if well-known enteric pathogens could be associated with outbreaks of neonatal diarrhoea, thus question the hypotheses of a new syndrome. Furthermore, the scientists wanted to evaluate macroscopic and microscopic findings associated with these outbreaks and if possible propose a preliminary piglet-level case-definition.

The four herds were selected as NNPD was suspected. Within these herds, 51 diarrhoeic and 50 non-diarrhoeic piglets at the age of three to seven days were necropsied and subjected to histological and microbiological examination. Faeces were found to be non-haemorrhagic.

Neither enterotoxigenic E. coli, Clostridium perfringens type A or C, Clostridium difficile, rotavirus, coronavirus, Cryptosporidium spp, Giardia spp, Cystoisospora suis nor Strongyloides ransomi were associated with diarrhoea in the investigated outbreaks. Macroscopically, the diarrhoeic piglets were characterised by filled stomachs and flaccid intestines without mucosal changes. The predominant histological lesions were villous atrophy in jejunum and ileum. Epithelial lesions in colon were seen in one third of the case piglets.

The study was published in BMC Veterinary Research in October 2013.

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