Somatic cell count, endotoxins and mycotoxins are seemingly forgotten threats in sow colostrum and milk that may negatively affect piglets.
Generally considered the ideal feed for neonatal mammals, mother’s milk is the exclusive nutrient source during the first days of a piglet’s life and the main nutrient source during the suckling period. The benefits of milk and colostrum cannot be overstated. It is rich in energy (lipids, lactose), highly-digestible protein, provides maternal immunity, and affords systemic and mucosal protection.
Despite the benefits, sow milk may conceal several threats to piglets. The emergence of neonatal porcine diarrhea syndrome (NNPDS) in many countries suggests that these threats might deserve closer attention. Comparisons with the dairy cow industry can be illustrative.