Healthy Pigs Start With A Healthy Gut

( Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal's PORK )

How does the microbiome impact pork production? It changes the health status of a pig, says Emily Otto-Tice, a swine nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition.  

Exposure to a good, healthy microbiome starting at birth is important.

“When they first start nursing and suckling the sow, the piglet takes in the bacteria on the underline of the sow they are nursing, building up those good bugs that populate and help boost their immune system,” Otto-Tice says.

The more good bugs you have, and more diverse those good microbial populations are, the less likely it is that you're going to have a pathogenic infection like an enteric disease such as E. coli or salmonella, two of more problematic bacterial infections that can impact growth and overall health, she adds. This phenomenon is called competitive exclusion – the good microbial bacteria thrive and outcompete pathogenic bacteria.

Recent research is identifying the good bacteria that influence respiratory health and even looking into the microbiome of the pig’s gut as it goes off to market.

Watch for part three tomorrow when Otto-Tice discusses how nutrition can improve the microbiome. Watch part one to learn what the microbiome is all about.