How to overcome post weaning challenges in piglets? The solution lies in the gut.

Anne Oberdorf

3 minutes | 20. October 2018
Degree of technical knowledge

It needs gut protection against post weaning diarrhea

Monday morning. 9 a.m. Pig farmer Eric opens the newspaper and gets worried: Not only Europe, also Malaysia is preparing a law to ban the use of colistin in animals. Not only for prevention, but also for therapeutic use. Moreover, also ZnO will be banned in Europe in 2022. When will it become reality in the US?
How should I protect my vulnerable weaning piglets from intestinal diseases, especially post weaning diarrhea (PWD) in the future? At least, in Europe every 4th piglet is affected by PWD. The fear of failure and increasing medication costs is rising. Farmers cannot afford any losses. What should Eric do now? There is no simple solution for such a complex theme like PWD.

It's time to prevent your piglets from post weaning diarrhea

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© Delacon
Actually, antibiotic medication is necessary and without a loss of profit the consequence. In other words: the piglet needs additional protection. In addition to optimizing hygiene and management, optimizing feed is a key factor.  Not only the farmer faces challenges: Weaning is a stressful event for young animals. At this stage,the immune system is not fully developed, the protection of maternal antibodies decreases and the digestive tract of the piglet has to adapt rapidly from high digestible sow milk to less digestible pre-starter feed. Introduction of solid, grain-based feed to weaning piglets results in bacterial overgrowth, intestinalinflammation and compromised intestinal integrity. The feed intake and thus growth rate decrease.
  • Eric muses: What does it really take to protect the intestine effectively against bacteria that cause PWD?

  • First of all, attachment on the intestinal mucosa of Bacteria like E.coli must be prevented – maybe mucilages can help here?
  • In a second step, the gut microbiota should be stabilized, and moreover harmful bacteria suppressed. As Eric read in a scientific feed journal, the innovative approach “Quorum sensing inhibition” may help by destroying the communication between bacteria, thus reducing their pathogenicity.
  • To maintain the intestinal functions in this critical phase, the gut should be protected from inflammatory processes.

References available upon request