Introduction: Efficiency of pig-production is directly and indirectly affected by diarrhoea. This requires the permanent use of therapeutical and prophylactical measures. Therapy of diarrhoea of suckling piglets relies on etiological diagnosis as well as on the use of effective antibiotics. Due to resistance, new antibiotic substances need to be developed continously in order to treat resistant germs.
Additionally, alternatives for antibiotic treatments are under consideration. In the present study the efficacy of di- and trigalacturonides in case of diarrhoea of suckling piglets was examined.
Materials and methods: The trial consisted of 2 groups including a total of 713 suckling piglets derived from 71 breeding sows which were monitored in the period of birth until day 20 post partum. 50 % of piglets of group K received a glucose solution (20 %) at day 1 until day 5 of life and piglets of group G additionally a mixture of galacturonides (10 %). Feed for suckling piglets was fed starting on day 5 and this feed stuff was mixed with supplementary feed for suckling piglets starting on day 10 for a period of 7 days. The feed ration of piglets of group G contained supplementary galacturonides in the same concentration as mentioned above. The body mass of piglets and the intensity of diarrhoea were determined on days 1, 3, 11 and 20 of the experiment. Additionally, 134 rectal swab samples were taken from equal numbers of pigs of both groups during the course of monitoring and examined bacteriologically. The total amount of consumed feeding stuff between day 5 and day 20 was determined.
Results: During the total period of the trial no significant differences between the groups in terms of increase in body mass and feed intake was found. Between the groups the results of bacteriological examinations of rectal swab samples did not show noteworthy differences, but a significant difference concerning intensity of diarrhoea was observed.
Finally it should be mentioned that the galacturonide group evidently showed not only a significant difference in respect to the necessity of treatments but also a decrease of drug use.
Discussion: In the present study, pathogens could be found in faeces, but they had less pathogenic effects on the animals which were treated with galacturonides. This might be interpreted as general improvement of intestinal health. Regarding the amount of feeding stuff no difference could be found between the groups and is due to the acceptance of the feed additive. The handling of the proved additive is easy in its usability in daily use because it can be added with any commercial mixing machine. For each suckling piglet, approximately 60 grams of galacturonides were needed during the examination period. Since galacturonides do not only have a proven influence on E. coli (JUGL et al., 2001; GUGGENBICHLER et al., 2004; PICHLER, 2007) but also enhance the intestinal health and thus increase resistance of animals against various pathogens. Finally, the use of galacturonides is recommended for suckling piglets as pro- and metaphylaxis as well as a supporting part of an antibiotic therapy.