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  • Author or Editor: Fabio A. Vannucci x
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Objective—To determine the efficacy of an avirulent Lawsonia intracellularis vaccine in preventing proliferative enteropathy in weanling foals.

Animals—12 healthy weanling foals.

Procedures—Foals were randomly assigned to a vaccinated, nonvaccinated, or control group. Vaccinated foals received an avirulent porcine L intracellularis frozen-thawed vaccine intrarectally 60 and 30 days prior to experimental challenge. On day 1, vaccinated and nonvaccinated foals were challenged via nasogastric intubation with a virulent heterologous isolate of L intracellularis. Control foals were not challenged. Clinical observation and ultrasonographic evaluation of the small intestine were performed, and body weight, serum concentration of total solids, fecal excretion of L intracellularis, and seroconversion were measured for each foal until day 56. Diseased foals were treated with antimicrobials and supportive care.

Results—None of the 4 vaccinated foals developed clinical disease following challenge with virulent L intracellularis. Three of 4 nonvaccinated foals developed moderate to severe clinical signs compatible with proliferative enteropathy, hypoproteinemia, and thickened small intestinal loops. Vaccinated foals had significantly less fecal shedding of L intracellularis than nonvaccinated foals. Serologic responses between vaccinated and nonvaccinated foals after challenge were similar. Control foals remained clinically unaffected with no evidence of fecal shedding and seroconversion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Intrarectal administration of a commercial avirulent porcine vaccine against L intracellularis resulted in complete protection against proliferative enteropathy in the foals in this study and may also reduce environmental contamination with the organism on endemic farms.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research