Piglet mortality for U.S. swine producers runs from 14 to 18 percent, according to Bill Barr, sales director, North America, Tonisity International. Barr spoke at a 2016 World Pork Expo event introducing Tonisity Px to pork producers in North America, Europe and Brazil.

The product is a pourable gel that hydrates the piglets and provides whey protein. “Piglets need vitality to get in there and fight to get a teat and drink,” Barr said. This has become more important as sows are producing more piglets per litter. Providing maximum hydration, which requires only 500 milliliters of the gel per litter per day, speeds development of the intestinal villi and improves nutrient absorption, he reported.

Giving piglets the isotonic gel for one week, starting on Day 2, can reduce piglet mortality by 25 percent and add a half pound per piglet at weaning, according to Barr. The company is offering to help producers set up controlled studies in their own operations and provide the product for free to demonstrate its effectiveness.

Additional hydration can be important for pigs at other times during their life, not just in the first eight days. Barr said that they have done work using the isotonic product mixed with creep feed when piglets are moved after weaning. Another suggested use would be for older pigs recovering from porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).