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Alternatives to zinc and antibiotics: Trailling probiotics for the prevention of diarrhoea in pigs

SEGES Pig Production is currently assessing the effectiveness of alternatives to zinc and antibiotics. So-called OUA pigs (pigs reared without antibiotics) have got off to a good start. Trials are now being conducted with specially developed natural probiotics for the prevention of disease.

A partnership with the bioscience company, Chr. Hansen, is set to identify the possibilities of using probiotics to prevent diarrhoea in pigs.

"In this regard, using new types of probiotics offers interesting possibilities, which is why we have entered into partnership with Chr. Hansen. They have developed a brand new type of probiotic to treat and prevent diarrhoea in pigs,” says SEGES veterinarian Poul Bækbo.

Prevention may mean improved pig welfare
"If we succeed in our trials, the benefits to be gained from this product will be immense, including improved productivity for the pig producer because the pig will avoid miscarrying, disease and possible death. It will also mean a possible reduction in the use of antibiotics and zinc,” says Poul Bækbo.

In many pig herds, weaning piglets can be a challenge where the use of medicinal zinc and/or antibiotics may be a necessity to prevent diarrhoea and, in the worst case scenario, death.

"Probiotics contain so-called ՚good bacteria'. When fed to pigs, they can – to a certain extent – have a beneficial effect on the stomach and improve feed absorption. The trials are therefore focusing on assessing the impact on the pig’s health and its productivity,” says Poul Bækbo.

The trials start in mid-2017 and ends in 2018.