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Zinc replacement strategies for preventing piglet diarrhea

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Post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD) is a significant enteric disease causing considerable economic losses for the pig industry. Among several etiological risk factors, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is considered to be a major cause, i.e. colibacillosis. The use of antibiotics at sub-therapeutic concentrations was routinely used as growth promoters for several decades, but has since 1 January 2006 been banned in the European Union due to the increasing prevalence of resistance to antibiotics in pigs. The removal of in-feed antibiotics from piglet diets has negative economic consequences as it dramatically increases the rate of morbidity and mortality due to ETEC as well as the use of antibiotics for therapeutic purposes. The probably most used substitutes for in-feed antibiotics is the pharmacological levels (at 2,000 to 4,000 mg/kg) of zinc oxide (ZnO) during the first two weeks post-weaning to alleviate the diarrhea and growth check in post weaning piglets in many pig producing countries. Any reduction of dietary zinc will result in less excretion of zinc to the feces, and thereby in reduced contamination of the agricultural soil. Thus, alternatives to antibiotics and to the high levels of ZnO that can control ETEC infections in piglets post-weaning will be of great advantage, also because of the risk of cross resistance between antibiotics and Zn or other heavy metals. A number of nutritional, genetic and management strategies have been reported in the literature as alternatives to in-feed antibiotics to prevent PWD, but, in most studies, the reduction of PWD has not been addressed as a primary response parameter (Lauridsen et al., 2017). The aim of this presentation is to evaluate the potential of commonly suggested dietary strategies for their effect on improving gut health, and thereby, for reducing post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in pigs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings: Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada 2021 ANCC
Number of pages10
Place of publicationCanada
PublisherThe Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 May 2021

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