Chapter 26 : Probiotics in Veterinary Medicine

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Probiotic therapy is becoming increasingly popular in veterinary medicine, both for therapeutic uses and for growth promotion. Probiotics may be used in food animal species to prevent or treat disease, but this is typically focused on the herd, not individual animal, level. Other objectives include increasing growth rate, improving feed conversion, stimulating the immune system, and decreasing shedding of zoonotic pathogens. The two main areas of emphasis in poultry research include enteropathogen control and immune stimulation. Consistent with other probiotics, the two most commonly represented genera in poultry probiotics are spp. and spp. Although undefined probiotics may be more efficacious than defined probiotics, their use is restricted in some countries because of the potential risks associated with the presence of pathogenic or antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Importantly, infection of chickens was associated with the production of proinflammatory and Th1 cytokines, such as IFN-γ. Probiotic therapy has received attention in cattle from many different perspectives, including increased production, decreased gastrointestinal disease, and decreased shedding of zoonotic enteropathogens. Probiotics are used in pigs for two main reasons: increased feed utilization efficiency with consequent weight gain and reduced frequency of diarrhea. Probiotics are becoming increasingly popular for treatment and prevention of diseases in companion animals, particularly horses, dogs, and cats. Probiotic therapy remains a promising option as parallel pressures to reduce antimicrobial use in animals, produce safe food cost-effectively, reduce environmental contamination with zoonotic pathogens, and maintain health in companion animals continue to be important priorities.

Citation: Weese J, Sharif S, Rodriguez-Palacios A. 2008. Probiotics in Veterinary Medicine, p 341-356. In Versalovic J, Wilson M (ed), Therapeutic Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815462.ch26

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