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Article

Drenching Bovine Colostrum, Quercetin or Fructo-Oligosaccharides Has No Effect on Health or Survival of Low Birth Weight Piglets

1
Comparative Perinatal Development, Faculty of Biomedical, Pharmaceutical and Veterinary Sciences, Antwerp University, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
2
Laboratory for Animal Production and Animal Product Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ramon Muns, Roger Davin and Christina Mulvenna
Animals 2022, 12(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010055
Received: 21 November 2021 / Revised: 18 December 2021 / Accepted: 24 December 2021 / Published: 28 December 2021
Over the past three decades, the litter size of sows has been increased to improve productivity. This has not only led to more piglets per sow, but also an increased proportion of low birth weight piglets, and consequently, higher pre-weaning mortality. In an attempt to improve the resilience of small piglets, an oral supplementation (drenching) with a bioactive compound can be applied. In this study, low birth weight piglets were drenched with bovine colostrum, short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides or quercetin (each dissolved in a plain milk replacer) during the first seven days after birth. The animals’ body weight, mortality, skin lesions, and different blood parameters were evaluated between birth and 2 weeks post-weaning. None of the supplemented compounds had a positive effect on any of the parameters, and thus, on the resilience of low birth weight piglets. Moreover, a negative effect on survival was observed in piglets that were drenched with short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides. These results showed that the evaluated bioactive compounds, in their given dosages, were unable to improve the low birth weight piglets’ survival and emphasized the complex, multifactorial origin of pre-weaning mortality.
The introduction of hyperprolific sows has resulted in more low birth weight (LBW) piglets, accompanied by higher mortality. A possible strategy to enhance the resilience and survival of LBW piglets is oral supplementation (drenching) of bioactive substances. This study evaluated the supplementation of bovine colostrum, short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) or quercetin that were dissolved separately in a milk replacer. The study was divided into two sub-experiments. First, the milk replacer was compared with a sham drenched group. Secondly, each dissolved compound was compared with the milk replacer. The LBW piglets, defined as weighing between (mean litter birth weight −1*SD) and (mean litter birth weight −2.5*SD), were randomly allocated to the different treatments and drenched once a day for seven days. On day 1, 3, 9, 24 and 38, piglets were weighed and scored for skin lesions. Blood samples were collected on day 9 and 38 and analyzed to determine glucose, non-esterified fatty acids, urea, immunoglobulin G, insulin-like growth factor 1, and a standard blood panel test. There was no difference between sham drenched piglets and piglets that were drenched with milk replacer regarding any of the parameters. No effect was observed between the milk replacer group and any of the bioactive compounds either, except a higher mortality within the scFOS group. In conclusion, this study showed that drenching the evaluated bioactive compounds, in the used dosages, did not improve LBW piglets’ resilience or survival and more research is required to determine the effect of scFOS on small piglets. View Full-Text
Keywords: pig; performance; oral supplementation; neonatal; survival; low birthweight; colostrum; quercetin; scFOS; milk replacer pig; performance; oral supplementation; neonatal; survival; low birthweight; colostrum; quercetin; scFOS; milk replacer
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MDPI and ACS Style

Van Tichelen, K.; Prims, S.; Ayuso, M.; Van Kerschaver, C.; Vandaele, M.; Degroote, J.; Van Cruchten, S.; Michiels, J.; Van Ginneken, C. Drenching Bovine Colostrum, Quercetin or Fructo-Oligosaccharides Has No Effect on Health or Survival of Low Birth Weight Piglets. Animals 2022, 12, 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010055

AMA Style

Van Tichelen K, Prims S, Ayuso M, Van Kerschaver C, Vandaele M, Degroote J, Van Cruchten S, Michiels J, Van Ginneken C. Drenching Bovine Colostrum, Quercetin or Fructo-Oligosaccharides Has No Effect on Health or Survival of Low Birth Weight Piglets. Animals. 2022; 12(1):55. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010055

Chicago/Turabian Style

Van Tichelen, Kevin, Sara Prims, Miriam Ayuso, Céline Van Kerschaver, Mario Vandaele, Jeroen Degroote, Steven Van Cruchten, Joris Michiels, and Chris Van Ginneken. 2022. "Drenching Bovine Colostrum, Quercetin or Fructo-Oligosaccharides Has No Effect on Health or Survival of Low Birth Weight Piglets" Animals 12, no. 1: 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010055

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