Mechanisms Of Growth Promotion By Antimicrobials

The mechanisms by which antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents stimulate growth in animals are not completely understood. There are probably several modes of action that involve metabolic, nutritional, and disease control effects.[3'4'6'7] Gut wall thickness and the entire mass of the digestive tract (which has a high energy requirement) are reduced when antibiotics are fed. In addition, antibiotics suppress those microorganisms that are responsible for nonspecific, subclinical disease, thereby allowing pigs to respond more closely to their genetic potential. Evidence for the disease control mechanism includes the facts that young pigs (which are more susceptible to diseases than older animals) respond more to antibiotics than older pigs, that responses to antibiotics are greater in pigs carrying a high disease load compared with healthy pigs, and that responses to antibiotics are greater in a dirty environment compared to a clean one.

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