For reliable predictions of clinical and parasitological outcome of experimental infections with parasites, different models must be evaluated for possible influences of infection time point, infection dose and host-specific parameters such as breed or litter size. To address these issues for Cystoisospora (syn. Isospora) suis, the causative agent of porcine neonatal coccidiosis, 181 piglets from 90 litters (hybrid crosses of different breeds) were included in a retrospective study to evaluate differences in time point and dose of infection in four different experimental models ((1) 1,500 oocysts on the 4th day of life, d.o.l.; (2) 1,000 oocysts, 4th d.o.l.; (3) 1,000 oocysts, 1st d.o.l.; (4) 5,000 oocysts, 4th d.o.l.). The target variables body weight gain, faecal consistency and oocyst excretion were evaluated during the acute phase of infection (5–10 days post infection), and the influences of the dependent variables breed or litter size were estimated. Despite differences in the time course of excretion and faecal consistency, neither the average amount of excretion nor the average faecal consistency differed among models, breeds or litters of different size. High individual variability was seen in all four models as described earlier for higher infection doses. When infections on the 1st vs. 4th day of life were compared, no differences in averages could be found, in contrast to previous observations on the influence of age. Other, not yet defined, variables appear to have a greater impact on the outcome of infection than doses and time points in the tested range, despite the reliable outcome of infection with high excretion rates and signs of clinical disease.
Coccidiosis Cystoisosporosis Neonatal pig Swine Model Diarrhoea
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the technical support of the animal and laboratory staff of the Institute of Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Hans-Christian Mundt is employed by Bayer Animal Health, Germany.
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