Denkapig - 29 July 2021

Decreased diarrhea incidence and antibiotic use

A commercial farm in the northeast of Spain was looking for a solution to support intestinal health of piglets, especially from gilt litters. Therefore, in the spring of 2021, a field trial with Denkacare Vitalsafe was performed. The results at this farm were very positive. Piglets of gilt litters showed less diarrhea and the extra support on intestinal health also resulted in a decreased number of treatments.

What is Vitalsafe?

Vitalsafe is a tasteful product to stimulate an early feed and water intake and to support intestinal health with its broad range of natural ingredients. Vitalsafe contains algae, which is not only very palatable, but also has anti-inflammatory effects. The other ingredients of Vitalsafe aim on binding of toxins, stimulation of the immune function, strengthening of the supportive intestinal tissue, protection of the epithelial and mucous tissue, and replenishing energy and mineral reserves.

Vitalsafe is very easy to use on farm. Mix 100 grams of Vitalsafe with one liter of water (35 degrees)

Main problem at the farm

The trial was performed at a commercial farm in the northeast of Spain with 3300 sows (PIC). The average litter size is 14-15 piglets and piglets are on average weaned with 23 days.  The litters with smaller piglets are offered piglet milk replacer (Lacto Start) from day 2 to 12. From day 7 all piglets receive a prestarter. In the farm the piglets of gilt litters are underperforming, mainly because of neonatal diarrhea. The farm is looking for a solution to support the gilt litters and to experience the effect of Vitalsafe.

Results on diarrhea incidence

To measure differences between piglets with and without Vitalsafe, three groups of piglets were created:

  • Control group (without Vitalsafe): 378 piglets of older sows
  • Vitalsafe group (sows): 193 piglets of older sows
  • VItalsafe group (gilts): 186 piglets of gilts

During the trial diarrhea incidence was scored daily at day 2 to 6 and at day 12, showed in the graph below for all groups. The piglets (from older sows) who were fed Vitalsafe showed the lowest diarrhea incidence during almost the whole period. The biggest difference between the groups was observed at day 6. In the group of piglets with Vitalsafe, only 7,1% of the litters showed diarrhea, while the in the  control group 25,0% of the litters had diarrhea.

Results of the three groups with ánd without Vitalsafe and the effect on diarrhea incidence on the commercial farm.

Results on treatments

Litters were treated with antibiotics at day 4 when needed. In the control group, 16,1% of the litters was treated, while in both Vitalsafe groups, this percentage was lower (10,7% and 14,3%).  Differences in mortality were small, but it’s remarkable that the piglets from gilts who were fed Vitalsafe had the lowest mortality.


The main goal of this farmer was to reduce differences in diarrhea incidence and treatments between gilts and multiparous litters. The results and experiences with Vitalsafe are positive. As shown in the graphs the piglets from gilt litters showed similar or even better results than the other piglets. The Vitalsafe groups had a decreased diarrhea incidence in piglets, including those from gilt litters. The extra support on intestinal health also resulted in decreased treatments, showing the improved animal health.