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Mycotoxins Impact on Swine Immunity

by 5m Editor
11 January 2008, at 12:00am

BIOMIN GmbH, Herzogenburg, Austria. Ing.

In the modern animal production, the animal’s performance boundaries are continuously being challenged in order to provide the farmer highest profitability. Disease outbreaks in farms are known to have economically devastating effects as the whole herd can be affected. The word “health” means not only free of disease but it represents a whole new concept of welfare in which the animals are able to fully express their genetic potential, maximizing performance and as a consequence the farmers’ profit.

Mycotoxins are toxic substances that disrupt the normal function of the animals’ immune system, leading to significant negative economic impacts.

The profit of farmers

The economic viability of modern pig production farms is affected by numerous factors. Amongst them, some exist that cannot be controlled by the farmers, namely the agricultural products and the meat’s market price fluctuations and the stricter policies imposed by the agriculture regulatory organisms. Nevertheless there are many of them which can be improved as a result of the farmers’ management strategy.

The occurrence of diseases has a direct negative impact on the economic viability of pig farms as outbreaks represent major cost increases and loss of profit. Disease control and treatment is therefore crucial for the economic viability of pig farms.

Promoting positive health status

Pigs’ immunity dictates the health status of a herd playing a crucial role as animals are constantly being threatened by different external factors. The balance between a farm challenged by disease and a farm with good health status is easily disrupted, thus it is vital to avoid the hazardous agents, promoting the beneficial ones.

Assuring animal health involves in a great extent the control of animal feeds as these should not only be efficient in satisfying the animals’ nutrient requirements but also, and very importantly, they should always be considered harmless for the animals ingesting them.

It was already described how mycotoxins, the secondary toxic metabolites produced by fungi, negatively impact the swine performance and fertility. Nevertheless, their hazardous effects are even broader involving also the immune system of contaminated animals.

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