In our previous study, the applicability of chitosan-alginate microcapsules for oral delivery of egg yolk immunoglobulin (IgY) was established in a simulated gastrointestinal tract environment. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the protective efficacy of microencapsulated IgY against K88+ ETEC (enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli)-induced diarrhea in 40-day-old pigs. Groups of pigs orally challenged with 10(11) cfu/mL of K88+ ETEC were fed with non-encapsulated IgY, microencapsulated IgY and aureomycin-treated feed respectively. The clinical response of each group was monitored and evaluated in terms of lethargy, inappetence, occurrence of diarrhea, fecal consistency score, weight loss and recovery rate. The results showed that treatment of infected pigs with microencapsulated IgY significantly (P<0.05) reduced the K88+ ETEC-induced diarrhea at 24 h post-infection. In contrast, the diarrhea-reducing effect of non-encapsulated IgY was delayed (only evident after 72 h) while normal saline-treated pigs (controls) continued to suffer from diarrhea and dehydration. Similarly, weight gain in microencapsulated IgY-treated pigs was better and significantly different (P<0.05) than in non-encapsulated IgY and saline-treated controls. Collectively, these results support previous in vitro observations showing that chitosan-alginate microcapsules can be an effective method of protecting IgY from gastric inactivation, enabling its use for the widespread prevention and control of enteric diseases.