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Animal Health
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:52:01 AM
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Mycotoxins' influence on swine immunity
 
Ines Rodrigues
 

When an animal is exposed to a hazardous agent its immune system will make all the efforts to eliminate the foreign organism and to counteract its negative effects. Animals which are fed mycotoxin-contaminated diets will have a reduced response as these toxic substances disrupt body's normal immune mechanism. Mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, fumonisins and trichothecenes pose negative effects at different levels of the immune response.

 

Several scientific research papers have found that mycotoxins negatively alter the innate and non-specific resistance of pigs, by reducing the phagocytic activity of both macrophages and neutrophils and the humoral and cell-mediated response to antigens. A practical consequence of the occurrence of these facts in a pig farm is the higher susceptibility to infectious diseases and the failure of the vaccination programmes.

 

Pigs with a deficient immune system caused by mycotoxins' exposure will be a preferred target to the infectious diseases caused by different agents such as viruses, Bacteria (namely Chlamydia, Anaplasma and Mycoplasma) Fungi and Parasites. Resistance to the most economically hazardous diseases and syndromes such as PPRSV, PMWS, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Colibacillosis (E. coli) and dysintery will be therefore reduced with consequent serious impacts on the viability of farms. 

 

As disease occurrence negatively impacts many factors, calculating its costs in pig farms is almost as complex as explaining the function of the immune system in a simple way.

 

Avoiding disease on pig farms is almost impossible but prevention is possible and should be paramount in daily management protocols. It is up to the producer to effectively control the disease potential entry ports, such as feed, in order to minimize its occurrence. Mycotoxins usually found in feeds depress the immune function of the animals, making them an easy target for the pathogenic agents. Preventing these negative substances such as mycotoxins will undoubtedly be more cost effective than treating the diseases triggered by such agents.

 
 

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Article made possible through the contribution of Biomin.

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