The purpose of this study was to determine whether intranasal/oral administration of probiotics can assist vaccination efficacy against an important swine pathogen, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus (PRRSV). A controlled challenge trial was performed employing: (a) pigs vaccinated against PRRS and treated with a Lactobacillus casei, (b) pigs vaccinated against PRRS only, (c) pigs treated with L. casei only, and (d) pigs neither vaccinated against PRRS nor treated with L. casei. All pigs were challenged intranasally with a wild PRRSV strain. There was no difference in clinical signs or rectal temperature among the four groups. However, pigs that received L. casei gained significantly more weight than pigs that did not. Vaccinated pigs did not gain more weight than nonvaccinated pigs. Vaccinated groups had significantly fewer viraemic pigs on days post-challenge 4, 11 and 17 than nonvaccinated groups of pigs. There was no effect of probiotic on prevalence or duration of viraemia. Among viraemic pigs, there was no significant difference in mean log base10 titer of PRRS virus among groups. These results suggest that orally administered L. casei does not affect immune response in such a way as to affect PRRS viraemia or nasal shedding. However, it still appears to provide significant benefit when administered during vaccination as indicated by the higher bodyweight gain following PRRS virus infection.
- PRRS virus