Pig: Weaning: Diet: Intestine Gastrointestinal disturbances immediately post weaning cause large economic losses in the pig industry. Although 50% of weaned piglets consume their first meal within 24 h post weaning, 10% have not eaten until 48 h. Thus, energy requirements for maintenance are only met 3 d post weaning, and it can take 8-14 d for piglets to recover their preweaning level of energy intake. Have reported a highly-variable individual VFI post weaning in group-housed pigs weaned at 27-28 d of age. Several factors are likely to influence VFI at weaning, including preweaning environment, age at weaning, creep feeding, mixing or stress at weaning, diet, weaning environment and health status. As a simple molecule, lactose can be used as a fermentable substrate by weaned pigs, since intestinal lactase activity decreases rapidly after weaning. The composition of the bacterial community in the gut of weaning piglets is affected by the dietary addition of sugarbeet pulp, inulin, lactulose and wheat starch, a diet specifically designed to stimulate the fermentation along the entire GIT. Fermentable carbohydrates could enhance colonic microbial stability and diversity, with concomitant stimulation of the growth of Lactobacillus sobrius, a novel and beneficial member of the porcine commensal microbiota. Probiotics In the weaning period the most promising effects of the use of probiotics are related to the competitive exclusion of pathogenic bacteria. In weaning pigs challenged with pathogens a strategy to select favourable commensal strains from the pig gut seems the more successful. Supplementation of a diet based on fermentable fibre with L. sobrius improves the body-weight gain of weaned pigs orally challenged with ETEC K88 and reduces ileal ETEC abundance, but it does not reduce diarrhoea. After supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in weaning pigs orally challenged with ETEC reduced growth and a trend to more ETEC excretion in faeces has been observed. Before being weaned at 21 d of age the piglets were creep-fed a diet with or without the probiotic supplement for 10 d starting at 7 d of age, and at 4 and 24 h post weaning they were challenged with ETEC. The probiotic was found to abolish diarrhoea, reduce secretagogue-induced chloride secretion at the jejunum and suppress the decreased paracellular permeability observed after ETEC challenge in nonsupplemented pigs. Administration of live yeast to weaned pigs for 3-4 weeks improves growth performance post weaning, villus height, epithelial cell proliferation and the numbers of macrophages at various sites of the small intestine. A mixture of carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and capsicum oleoresin, given at increasing doses to piglets from 12 d post weaning, linearly increases intestinal lactobacilli as well as lactobacilli:enterobacteria. Curiously, little information is available on the effect of antioxidants on the GIT of weaning pigs despite the body of literature existing on the protective properties of such substances. Touchette KJ, Carroll JA, Allee GL, Matteri RL, Dyer CJ, Beausang LA & Zannelli ME Effect of spray-dried plasma and lipopolysaccharide exposure on weaned pigs: I. Effects on the immune axis of weaned pigs.
Health and Welfare Management of Pigs Based on Slaughter Line Records
To use the Slaughter line records to improve health and welfare, a feedback system to the farm should exist. In order to include these aspects in animal production and achieve safe market products for human health resulting from welfare friendly systems , producers need to consider animal health and welfare management. On farm management may be assessed according to correct husbandry procedures and competent stockmanship, but also according to good records, written evidence of sanitary and welfare status of the animals. The records need to collect information about the health and welfare of the animals in real time and be able to follow the evolution with continuous recording. With the intention to produce a tool for assessing animal welfare by means of aggregation of different measures in a multicriterion approach and based on the existing definitions, the European Project Welfare Quality® defined animal welfare by means of 12 criteria: absence of prolonged hunger, absence of prolonged thirst, comfort around resting, thermal comfort, ease of movement, absence of injuries, absence of disease, absence of pain induced by management procedures, expression of social behavior, expression of other behavior, good human-animal relationship and positive emotional state. Tail biting is not assessed in the slaughterhouse by these protocols, but other authors have developed studies in tail bitten slaughter pigs in relation to performance, meat quality and animal welfare traits [32-34]. Catarrhal and fibrinous pneumonia, pleuritis, atrophic rhinitis, abscesses, ulceration, pericarditis and white spots in the liver are pathological findings that can be identified by postmortem inspection [22-35]. These lesions are often present in asymptomatic carriers of pathogens. Haptoglobin sampling in the Slaughter line will be in the near future a relevant tool for integrative health and welfare assessment of slaughter pigs at individual level and for longitudinal monitoring at farm level. Systematic recording of several measures at slaughter can be regarded as an important complementary tool for the management of health and welfare [47-49]. Data collection at the abattoir combined with information gathered on the farms and at the laboratory, allow the development of a comprehensive database for health and welfare management. The identification of live animals, either individually or at the farm level is becoming an increasingly important component of the health and welfare management. There are several health and welfare problems in pigs that can be assessed by means of Slaughter line records. To use the Slaughter line records to improve health and welfare, a good feedback system to the farm is necessary. Von Borell E Assessment of pig housing based on the HACCP concept-critical control points for welfare, health and management. Eckersall PD Acute phase proteins as markers of infection and inflammation: monitoring animal health, animal welfare and food safety. Geers R, Petersen B, Huysmans K, Knura-Deszczka S, De Becker M On-farm monitoring of pig welfare by assessment of housing, management, health records and plasma haptoglobin. Measuring general animal health status: development of an animal health barometer.