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Vitamin D3 Supplementation in Suckling and Weaned Piglets

06 August 2014

In three trials, oral supplementation of piglets with vitamin D3 increased serum levels but there were no effects on piglet performance, according to R. Friendship in a report for Ontario Pork.

Indoor rearing of pigs and naturally low levels of vitamin D in sow milk mean supplementation to piglets is recommended to avoid vitamin D deficiency.

This project looked at serum levels of vitamin D3 with or without supplementation, and the effect of supplementation of average daily gain, mortality and morbidity.

In the first trial, piglets were orally given 1ml of vitamin D3 or a placebo from one to five days of age, and had there serum tested then as well as 23 days later.

Supplementation led to D3 serum levels of 23.29±12.06ng per ml, rather than 8.01±5.91ng per ml for the control group.

Trial 2 gave 1ml of vitamin D3 or a placebo to piglets at weaning, piglets were weighed and serum levels tested.

Mortality and morbidity were tracked, and 28 days later serum levels were re-tested and piglets re-weighed.

Control pigs had serum levels of 18.68±3.99ng per ml, and supplemented pigs had 22.34±6.01ng per ml.

There was no difference in average daily gain, mortality or morbidity.

Trial 3 was similar to trial 2 but pigs were in pens with 27 to 56 others, not weighed and serum levels tested for five pigs per pen.

Supplemented pigs had serum levels of 30.60±2.36ng per ml 28 days post-administration, and control pigs had 17.65±2.40ng per ml. There was no difference in mortality and morbidity.

Oral supplementation of vitamin D3 did increase serum levels but had no impact on pig performance, Dr Friendship concluded.

August 2014

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