Animal Health Vision (AHV) – Adding a new dimension to animal health support.
Animals are challenged during their entire life by multiple unavoidable biotic (physiological and pathogen-related) as well as abiotic, environmental, and social stressors. These conditions challenge animal health and ultimately growth, productivity, reproduction, and welfare. Deploying the vision to support animals in their ability to handle these diverse stressors, to help them overcome health challenges, AHV has developed a unique product portfolio based on natural products and feed ingredients. The products in this portfolio are designed to support animal health and to interfere with the formation of microbial biofilms, what reduces the risk of chronic infections and the related inflammatory response of pathogenic microbes.
Biofilms are sessile, structured communities of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and other microorganisms. Biofilm formation is part of the life-cycle of microorganisms, and is facilitated by signalling molecules (quorum sensing molecules) that coordinate their adhesion to a surface and the synthesis of an extracellular matrix that gives a biofilm its typical (slimy) appearance and architecture.
The role of biofilm
Biofilms occur in many environments including the body of humans and animals. Microbial biofilms can be formed on biological surface for example the skin, the teeth, the upper airways and lungs, the heart valves, the urinary bladder, the mammary gland, and the intestines. As such, biofilms are not a disease, but when formed by pathogenic bacteria, they can lead to a profound inflammatory response (Høiby et al., 2015). In the micro-environment of a biofilm, bacteria withstand common therapeutically applied antibiotics, and are resilient to immune cells trying to clear the infection. The ultimate outcome of a biofilm-related infection is the development of a chronic disease condition that is difficult to treat (Donlan, 2012). More importantly, such chronic and recurrent infections significantly affect overall health and wellbeing of humans and animals (Melchior et al., 2006).
In recognition of the high prevalence of chronic infections in human patients, the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) requested awareness for bacterial biofilms as the main cause of chronic infections characterized by a persisting and progressive pathology due to the pronounced inflammatory response surrounding the biofilm (Høiby et al., 2015). Due to the complexity of biofilm formation by multiple bacterial species, there is no single therapeutic agent that can combat a biofilm-related infection and inflammatory response. As biofilms are dynamic structures, the ESCMID recommends to focus on the preventive use of agents known to interfere with biofilm formation (Høiby et al., 2015).
The endorsement of proactive use by AHV
AHV has endorsed the idea of proactive use and developed a portfolio of products consisting of natural plant derived extracts with anti-biofilm function, feed materials, technical agents, and micronutrients. On top of that, AHV has developed its own laboratory. Here, the desired properties of individual ingredients are investigated, including anti-biofilm activity. High standardization of natural plant derived extracts and product quality is guaranteed by advanced analytical control measures. The products are tailor made based on the physiological needs and unavoidable stress moments in the life cycle of animals. With this strategy, AHV added a new dimension to animal health and animal welfare.
A product portfolio has been designed around this strategy. AHV started a portfolio for cattle farming in 2014. Through scientific research the portfolio has since then expanded to other animal species. AHV now has a portfolio for the following animal segments, cattle, pigs, goat, sheep, lambs, farmed fish. Moreover, in 2024 AHV is planning to launch a product portfolio for the poultry segment.
The overall vision of AHV is to support animal health by creating a product portfolio with a focus on:
- Increasing the resilience of animals to infectious diseases, thereby reducing the need to use traditional methods such as antibiotics.
- Supporting animal health, growth, reproduction, productivity, and longevity, thereby increasing the efficiency and profitability of animal farming.
- Establishing a high quality and healthy animal production and food supply chain, based on natural plant derived extracts with anti-biofilm function, for futureproof farming.
With a sustainable and proactive approach, AHV strives to make a real impact on the future of the agricultural sector.
Donlan, R. M. (2000). Role of biofilms in antimicrobial resistance. ASAIO journal, 46(6), S47-S52
Hoiby, N., Bjarnsholt, T., Moser, C., Bassi, G. L., Coenye, T., Donelli, G., & Williams, C. (2015). ESCMID* guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of biofilm infections 2014. Clinical microbiology and infection, 21, S1-S25.
Melchior, M. B., Vaarkamp, H., & Fink-Gremmels, J. (2006). Biofilms: a role in recurrent mastitis infections?. The Veterinary Journal, 171(3), 398-407.