Maintaining gut health in piglets has far-reaching implications for their entire growth cycle and should therefore start in the farrowing pen. Ensuring piglets ingest enough colostrum and milk during the suckling period is vital for optimal health and the development of the gut barrier system.
Weaning is a critical stage in a piglet’s life, exposing the animal to tremendous nutritional, environmental and social stress. As the gut is the main organ affected by stress during weaning, optimising piglet gut health before this phase will have a positive effect on post-weaning performance, and the benefits will multiply as the animal nears the growth/finishing stage. Phileo by Lesaffre has developed solutions to help maintain a healthy piglet gut, supporting optimal performance during suckling and nursery periods, and during weaning, in particular.
Weaning piglets from the sow is one of the most stressful events in the pig’s life and can contribute to intestinal and immune system dysfunctions.
Boosting the piglet’s immune system by supplementing sow diets with Actisaf® from gestation (94 days) until the end of lactation (28 days), with additional supplementation of the piglets with Actisaf® by gavage (1 g, 3 times a week) during the suckling period, has proven effective in preventing piglet diarrhea following a challenge with ETEC one day after weaning. This protection is attributed to the increased serum IgA levels observed in piglets supplemented with Actisaf®.
The main objective of managing gut health in the nursery is to overcome the growth plateau that occurs during the first week post weaning, mainly due to the voluntary feed restriction that follows the weaning process. Supplementing nursery piglets with Actisaf® has been proven to improve gut health and piglet performance, either because of the immunomodulatory function of yeast compounds mentioned above, or because it modifies and stabilizes the gut microbiota. E. coli shedding was also lower in the piglets supplemented with Actisaf®.
Yeast probiotic ingested by the piglet from sow feces can act directly on the piglet gut and improve performance by enhancing gut health, either by its immunomodulatory effect or by orientating the gut microbiota towards beneficial bacteria. Two in vitro studies published in 2011 proved that the immunomodulatory effect of Actisaf® can limit epithelial cell inflammation induced by enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).
Selsaf® deposits selenium in piglet muscle significantly more effectively, creating a pool of selenium in the form of SeMet, which can be accessed during times of stress to improve antioxidant activity by enzymes. SeMet deposition in muscle also improves muscle growth and meat quality due to the high level of seleno-proteins.
Actisaf® supplementation, both before and after weaning, improves piglet
performance at 28 days post weaning by modifying the hindgut microbiota. As compared to the control group, yeast probiotic supplementation improved most zootechnical performance parameters measured suggesting that supplementing piglets with Actisaf® both during the suckling period (either through the sow’s diet or in the creep feed) and the post-weaning period (in the nursery diet) is very important to optimize piglet health and performance.
Phileo by Lesaffre’s solutions and expertise are key to advanced gut health management at all stages of a piglet’s development cycle, within a social and environmental context that aims to: