Interpretive Summary: Exploring zinc deficiency using serum Zn levels: consequences and potential solutions in suckling pigs
By: Laia Blavi, Sandra Villagómez-Estrada, David Solà-Oriol, José F Pérez
At weaning, young pigs may experience a decrease in serum Zn levels which can predispose them to diarrhea, particularly when fed diets with nutritional Zn levels. For several decades, this gap has been covered by using therapeutic levels of Zn. However, due to the negative collateral effects of these supra doses, from June 2022 in the EU the maximum level of Zn allowed in piglet diets is 150 mg/kg. In this scenario, it is imperative to investigate the Zn status evolution in pigs even before weaning, to anticipate the appearance of Zn deficiencies. This study had three main objectives: to investigate the Zn serum levels of light and heavy body weight pigs during lactation, to study these Zn levels as a predisposing factor to developing diarrhea during weaning and to study the effects of extra Zn supplementation during lactation to prevent Zn deficiency while weaning. Overall, the results indicate a decrease in pig serum Zn levels during lactation which is more severe in low body weight pigs. Low Zn status at weaning may be a predisposing factor for diarrhea. Nevertheless, external pig supplementation with Zn during lactation can mitigate this issue.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.