Weaning: feed additives can improve piglets performance

Weaning always means stress

Weaning is a physiological and unavoidable period in mammals life but, at the same time, it is extremely stressful. There are several stressors in animal life at this age, both psychosocial and physical: separation from the sow and the littermate, dietary and environmental change, a new social hierarchy with unknown piglets. The result is a severe impairment of intestinal integrity. The intestinal mucosa is the first line of defense against pathogens. The mucosal epithelium is an enterocytes monolayer, columnar cells linked together by protein “bridges” (the tight junctions) that avoids the uncontrolled passage of molecules and pathogens. Stressors cause the disruption of a large part of these bridges and affect the intestinal barrier function. This is at the basis of the increase in post-weaning pathologies, toxemia, and infections. Even if there are no clinical signs, it is demonstrated that there are heavy repercussions on growth performance throughout pigs productive life, not only during the post-weaning period.

Prevention is impossible, support is mandatory

There is no way to avoid weaning stress, but we can help the animals to face this challenge by maintaining strong intestinal health and supporting a faster recovery. Organic acids (OA) and nature identical compounds (NIC) are widely used as feed preservatives and flavoring compounds and these are not their only useful uses. In an experiment conducted by our team, Caco-2 cells grown with OA and NIC recovered from an LPS-caused drop in barrier function in a faster and better way compared to the control cells, that didn’t have any OA and NIC added to their medium. These results indicated that OA and NIC help to restore the epithelial initial status and integrity after an inflammatory insult, demonstrating a powerful and synergistic anti-inflammatory activity of these molecules on the intestinal mucosa, that can be really useful in field conditions during and after stressful periods such as weaning.

The Vetagro solution

AviPlus®S combines citric and sorbic acids, thymol and vanillin, all together in each microcapsule of the product. The lipid matrix of the beadlets allows the simultaneous slow release of the active ingredients along the whole intestinal tract to fully exploit their synergy for the best intestinal health possible. Previous studies demonstrated the in-field effectiveness of this product, sustaining both the intestinal barrier function and positive microflora (Lactobacillus spp.). The latest research results about the effect of Aviplus®S in piglets during the first 6 weeks post-weaning were presented at the 52° Journées de la recherche porcine in Paris (4-5 Feb 2020). This most recent research demonstrated that the inclusion of AviPlus®S into piglets diet significantly improves not only their intestinal health and live performance (body weight and feed intake) but also nutrients digestibility. Thus, this microencapsulated blend of organic acids and nature identical compounds can be a valid tool to support animal growth during the stressful period of weaning.


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