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Impact of liquid diet supplementation while suckling and weaning age on nutritional status, intestinal health, and immunity of piglets pre- and post-weaning

By: Darya Vodolazska, Mette S Hedemann, Charlotte Lauridsen

Antimicrobial resistance, induced by increased usage of antimicrobials, is a threat raising economic and public health concerns. The great amount of antibiotics used in the animal production and especially in the pig industry, where the greatest part of all prescribed antibiotics is used for treatments of diarrhea in newly weaned piglets. Therefore, there is a call for action to reduce antimicrobial treatments of weaned pigs. Piglets’ individual characteristics at weaning have a great impact on the gut health of piglets after weaning. Thus, the proper functional development and maturation of the intestine before weaning will prevent the development of diarrhea and by that reduce the number of antimicrobial treatments. This study aimed to investigate the potential beneficial effect of a liquid nutritional supplement during the suckling period, and/or an increased weaning age on piglets’ gut health and maturation, as well as advantageousness of high colostrum intake during the first 24 h after birth for piglets’ growth and robustness. We found that the nutritional supplementation before weaning combined with increased weaning age could be considered as a strategy for improvement of intestinal health, function, and maturation in piglets before and after weaning, and high individual colostrum intake enhanced piglets’ robustness before weaning.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.