Independent study shows Orego-Stim supports piglet health and performance in the absence of antibiotics

An independent study, conducted on a commercial pig unit in Greece from weaning for 21 days, has shown that Orego-Stim,  natural oregano essential oil, supports piglet health and alleviates the impact of post-weaning scour. Thus, reducing the need for antibiotics at this critical period in the life cycle.

The results also show that, piglets fed Orego-Stim supplemented diets recorded improved survivability and growth performance and a reduced number of positive faecal E. coli counts.

“Antibiotics remain essential in treating disease within the herd. However, with the risk of selecting for the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important not to overuse antibiotics to ensure we safeguard their efficacy for future use,” says Heidi Hall, swine expert and global technical service manager with Anpario.  “This is why these results, showing that Orego-Stim can help to maintain optimum piglet health and performance in the absence of antibiotics, especially those classed as critically important, is very significant”.

Antimicrobial resistance, the natural process where bacteria develop resistance to antibacterial agents, is recognised as one of the greatest threats globally to human health. It can result in antibiotics becoming less efficient or even totally ineffective, leading to health issues for both animals and humans.

“During weaning, piglets are subjected to a massive variety of stressors which can result in impaired growth, ultimately affecting producer profitability and lifetime performance,” added Heidi Hall. “Orego-Stim, a high quality eubiotic, containing 100 percent natural oregano essential oil, has been shown to reduce the stress response”.

In the trial, for the first seven days post-weaning all piglets were fed a commercial basal starter diet. At eight days post-weaning, piglets were randomly allocated to one of four dietary treatment groups; no feed additives (control); antibiotic (1kg colistin) treatment; Orego-Stim (0.5 kg/tonne) supplementation or antibiotic (2kg Baytril) treatment.

Piglets fed diets supplemented with Orego-Stim had 0 percent mortality over the course of the study, as did piglets fed diets treated with the antibiotic Baytril. This was 11.1 percent lower than the control group of piglets and 5.6 percent lower than those fed diets supplemented with the antibiotic colistin.

In addition, Orego-Stim also helped reduce the number of positive E. coli counts in faecal samples. And, when considering incidence of post-weaning scours, Orego-Stim reduced the incidence of diarrhoea compared to the control and colistin treated groups, whilst matching the performance of Baytril.

Piglet growth performance was also improved by supplementing diets with Orego-Stim. Average daily gain was significantly increased compared to the negative control and colistin supplemented piglets. Orego-Stim supplemented piglets performed as well as those treated with Baytril.

“Natural OEO’s, have been shown to contain over 100 different active compounds, including carvacrol and thymol, which work in synergy to offer several well-documented properties and functions” explains Heidi Hall.

“This includes antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antioxidant functions, all of which play an important role in maintaining gut health and ensuring optimal lifetime health and performance. In addition, oregano’s aromatic and flavouring properties help to maintain feed intakes which is of particular importance during periods of stress, such as weaning”.

“Orego-Stim is an important product in helping to implement Anpario’s 4 R’s approach to antimicrobial usage (Review, Reduce, Replace Responsibly), which includes both antibiotics and therapeutic zinc inclusion in piglet diets. OEO based additives have demonstrated great success in helping to wean healthy piglets in the absence of antibiotics or therapeutic levels of zinc”, concludes Heidi Hall.

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