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Take the opportunity to wean your piglets differently


Weaning is the most challenging and stressful event in a piglet’s life, we can help by increasing the resilience of the piglet and/or reducing the challenges. With the banning of high levels of ZnO in 2022, new solutions must be found.


BY RICARDO NETO, TECHNICAL SERVICE MANAGER, KEMIN A


piglet is taken from his mother at a younger age than in a natural environment, he would gradually leave the sow at around three months of age. This is a huge challenge for the young piglet: he


doesn’t have his mother calling him to feed, he is offered a different diet, taken to a different environment, without a great source of heat (sow) and sometimes a less controlled environment, he will also have to establish a new pecking order and new rights in the newfound world of the post weaning accommodation.


Weaning and its challenges This decrease in feed intake, different diet, sudden changes in maternal immunity leads to anatomical and physiological changes to the intestine, impacting on tight junction


Take a different approach when weaning


Piglet weaning is carried out earlier than it would naturally and is the single most stressful point in the piglets life. Weaning leads to anatomical and physiological changes to the intestine that lower the resistance to common post weaning pathogens. Some management practices can help the piglet go through this challenging period but with the banning of high doses of ZnO coming in 2022, this makes it essential to have a holistic approach with interventions that lead to reduced challenge to the piglet and increased resilience to the weaning challenge. We can intervene to reduce the challenge with management practices and some interventions such as a blend of acids and essential oils that contribute to control of pathogens post weaning and we can increase the piglets resistance or resilience with vaccines and some new tools such as an algae beta-glucan that has been shown to have immune modulating effects improve its response to challenges and vaccinations.


44 ▶ GUT HEALTH | DECEMBER 2020


integrity and leading to further problems of epithelial resistance to pathogens that take advantage of these conditions, such as E. coli and Salmonella. As prophylactic and metaphylactic use of antimicrobials started becoming under fire and rightly stopped being used, one tool to help with the challenges of weaning remained: Zinc Oxide.


Zinc is an essential trace mineral, with the maximum permit- ted European level of zinc from 2022 onwards (150 ppm in the starter feed) aimed at addressing this need for zinc, the mode of action of ZnO used in high doses is still not com- pletely understood but due to its negative environmental im- pact, a ban on the use of zinc oxide in high doses in feed for weaned pigs will come into effect in June 2022, so the hunt is on for alternative strategies.


Increasing resilience of the piglet We need a holistic approach and work towards increasing re- silience of the piglet and lowering the challenge to ensure a smooth transition without relying on high doses of ZnO or antibiotics.


We need to reduce the challenge to the animals, these can be addressed through:


. . . .


Adequate cleaning and disinfection Biosecurity


Vaccination programmes


Ensuring optimal feeding and nutrient availability, protein source, protein level, fibre


When pigs are housed in less than ideal conditions more stress to the animal will ensue. The resistance and resilience is well known to be improved through vaccinations, or new technologies, such as β-(1.3)-glucan. Using beta-(1.3)-glucan can result in improved resilience. A particular algae derived beta-glucan has been shown to have immune modulating effects. Once in the piglets body, immune cells, like macrophages and dendritic cells will become more active in engulfing, killing and digesting invading pathogens and will initiate a signalling cascade stimulating the attraction, formation and activation of other immune cells. Algae β-glucan influences and modulates cytokine and chemokines. The production of IL-6 (a pro- and anti- inflammatory cytokine), IL-10 (an anti-inflammatory


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