Trends on Weaning Age

June 21, 2017 01:34 PM
 
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The majority of research on gut function in weaned pigs has focused on the first 1-2 weeks post-weaning while the long-term impacts are often overlooked, said Adam Moeser, DVM PhD, in a presentation at the AASV meeting. Moeser is the Matilda R. Wilson Endowed Chair in Large Animal Clinical Sciences and director of The Gastrointestinal Stress Biology Laboratory at Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The long-term impacts on pig heath and gut function have only recently begun to be realized,” he said. Moeser cited original work by “Main et al (2004) who demonstrated in a commercial multi-site swine production system that incremental increases in wean age from 12 to 21.5 days of age resulted in linear improvement in growth rate and feed efficiency and reductions in mortality to market.”  

Moeser’s research team is focused on understanding how stressors such as early weaning influence long-term gut health and disease susceptibility. Research from his laboratory has demonstrated that increasing weaning age linearly improved intestinal barrier function by reducing intestinal permeability when measured 2 weeks post-weaning. More recently, his research showed that intestinal permeability differences between early and late-weaned pigs persist into adulthood when measured at 170 d post-weaning.

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