Piglets are born with limited iron reserves and require supplementation of iron for the prevention of anaemia and to build their immune system (1). Iron supplementation is performed routinely on commercial farms, however iron status of piglets is rarely evaluated.
Iron deficiency anaemia in the piglet can be manifested in one of two ways - clinical or sub-clinical anaemia.
Clinical anaemia is the more severe form and is characterised by a reduction in growth rate, lethargy and pale skin.
While the signs of clinical anaemia are easily recognised, sub-clinical anaemia may not be recognised at all. The producer may not realise their pigs are growing below optimum rates or see the negative effects that sub-clinical anaemia is having on feed conversion rates. In addition, they may not realise that their pigs have a much lower resistance to disease.
To be effective, the iron must be available for complete absorption within the body. If the iron is not completely absorbed, it is not available for utilisation. It is important to note that not all iron compositions are the same. Gleptosil contains gleptoferron. Over 95% of the injected gleptoferron within Gleptosil is absorbed within 24 hours, ensuring very high utilisation of the dose by the piglet with no staining at the injection site (2)
In summary, piglets require sufficient, high quality iron, not only to prevent iron deficiency anaemia, but to achieve their full growth potential by having a strong immune system.
Haemoglobin testing is a quick way of finding out if you have anaemic or iron deficient piglets in your herd. For more information or to arrange a haemoglobin test, contact Interchem’s Swine Technical Specialist, Lisa Hopkins on 086 701 3844.
(1)Perri et. Al., 2015, An investigation of iron deficiency and anaemia in piglets and the effect of iron status at weaning on post-weaning performance
(2)Salle E., 2006, Comparative study of the efficacy of gleptoferron and iron dextran in anaemia prevention in piglets. Proceedings IPVS Denmark