ANTI-BIOTICS VS PRO-BIOTICS/PRE-BIOTICS IN ANIMAL HEALTH.

By Dr Baba Wageti

The intestinal environment is a good medium for pathogenic bacteria which are harmful to the well being of the animal. Antibiotics, prebiotics and probiotics are agents designed to counter or control the effects of intestinal pathogens.

ANTI-BIOTICS

These are agents that kill or stop the growth of micro-organisms. Farmers and vets report that some antibiotics have multiple undesired effects such as:

  • presence of antibiotics residues in products of animal origin intended for human consumption and the emergent demand from consumers markets for products free from antibiotics residues.
  • possible side effects
  • possible resistance, scientists calculated ,that if we don’t change anything in human and veterinary medicine, human deaths each year due to Antimicrobial  resistance (AMR) will be up to 10 million by 2050.

Increase in Antimicrobial resistance in some countries are due to:  low enforcement on measure and regulations like in African countries; Substandard (bad quality) drugs especially from Asian countries; Counterfeit drugs of bad quality.

There are limitations on the use of antibiotics because of its resistance after prolonged consumption. So there is constant search and development for new other alternatives. Resident microbes in the animals’ digestive tract have a profound effect on some of the physiological processes of their host. With this in mind, it is important to understand the dynamics of the intestinal microbial ecology of the animal to find the alternative to antibiotics. Under normal circumstances there is a delicate balance of beneficial (probiotics) and pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). This is influenced by symbiotic and competitive interactions and relationships. These probiotics microbes will not only protect the GIT, but also enhance productivity in the animal.

The use of PRO-BIOTICS and PRE – BIOTICS are two alternative approaches that have been examined and can potentially reduce enteric diseases in livestock and also enhance their productivity.

PROBIOTICS:

Is a live bacteria which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal balance. The PROBIOTICS mode of action is by COMPETITIVE EXCLUSION meaning there is competition for attachment sites in the GIT. The bacteria of the probiotic attach to the intestinal mucosa, thereby forming a physical barrier that blocks the attachment of pathogenic bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella spp and Clostridium spp.  Probiotics bacteria also produce antibacterial compounds and enzymes and stimulate the immune system.

PREBIOTICS:

Are non -digestible carbohydrate like oligosacchrides which act by supplying nutrients to the probiotics  and tricking pathogenic bacteria into attaching to the oligosacchride rather than to the intestinal mucosa. This reduces the intestinal colonization thereby decreasing the incidence of infection in the animal. Because the oligosacchride is non-digestible, the pathogenic bacteria that are attached will travel along the GIT with the ingesta, and are excreted from the animal along with undigested feed.

Enteric diseases like E. coli, Salmonella spp, Clostridium spp and cholera are of major economic concern, especially in the poultry industry. 

Dr. Baba Wageti is the Group Sales and Marketing Manager of Adamore Nig. ltd.

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