Clint Lichty from Southwest Ontario Veterinary Service, Sows Pass Vomitoxin To Their Piglets


We know that Deoxynivalenol (DON) or vomitoxin contamination of feed may result in reduced growth, reduced feed

intake, immunosuppression, and subsequent health problems in pigs. Piglets can be exposed to DON via the placenta before birth and via milk during lactation. Norwegian researchers wanted to quantify the early-life exposure of piglets

to DON. In this study, forty-four crossbred sows were evaluated from day 93 ± 1 of gestation until weaning of piglets. The sows were fed a diet that contained oats that were naturally contaminated with DON at three difference concentration levels:

1) control (DON < 0.2 mg/kg)

2) DON level 1 (1.4 mg DON/kg)

3) DON level 2 (1.7 mg DON/kg)


The transfer of DON to the piglets was evaluated in 15 sows, with repeated sampling of blood and milk from the sows and blood samples from five piglets of each litter. The piglet/sow plasma DON ratio and milk/plasma (M/P) DON ratio in sows were calculated to estimate the degree of transfer. Piglet/sow plasma ratios were 2.14 at birth, 2.30 within 12

to 36 hours after farrowing, 0.08 on day 7, 0.16 on day 21, and 0.20 at weaning. M/P ratios were 0.92,1.11, 0.94, 1.21, and 0.90, respectively.


Take Home Message


DON or vomitoxin consumed by the sow is transferred to piglets across the placenta prior to birth. After birth the transfer of DON continues via the milk with most of the transfer occurring soon after farrowing.


Submitted by Clint Lichty, DVM

Ref: Source: Sayyari A, Uhlig S, Fæste CK, Framstad T, Sivertsen T. Transfer of Deoxynivalenol (DON) through Placenta, Colostrum and Milk from Sows to Their Offspring during Late Gestation and Lactation. Toxins (Basel). 2018 Dec 4;10(12). pii: E517. doi: 10.3390/toxins10120517


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