01 Mar 2022

Intestinal health in piglets

Enhancing the intestinal health of pigs has become a priority for the pig sector, since it allows to improve their productive performance, minimizing production costs and achieving high levels of animal welfare accepted by society.

Intestinal health in piglets

What is intestinal health?

Enhancing the intestinal health of pigs has become a priority for the pig sector. It allows to improve productive performance, minimize production costs and achieve high levels of Animal Welfare that are accepted by society.

In recent years, the number of studies and references to what is known as “Intestinal Health” have increased significantly.

The definition of Gut Health will depend on who is asked to define it and what circumstance or factors are being refered to:

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Salud intestinal If it is believed that the best intestinal health is found in nature, in wild animals, this will depend on the moment chosen to make such determination. Since it can be evaluated at a time of abundance of food, such as autumn in the Extremadura pasture for Iberian pigs, or during the icy winter with snow and few resources in the Arctic tundra for the few wild boars that live there at that time.

If  veterinarians are asked about the topic, it is most likely that they will refer to “the absence of digestive pathologies that hinder the development of the animal  of interest”. Which in this case is the piglet.

On the other hand, nutritionists will say that intestinal health refers to that state of the animal in which digestive functions develop with complete normality. However, it is important to define what normality is.

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Scientists will answer that they don’t know yet, and that more studies and trials are needed.

For technicians in animal production, Pietro Celi’s definition can be adopted:

“A steady state where the microbiome and intestinal tract coexist in symbiotic equilibrium, and where animal welfare and performance are not limited by intestinal dysfunction.”

Criteria to measure intestinal health




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