The role of mycotoxins in pig reproduction: a review

https://doi.org/10.17221/156/2009-VETMEDCitation:Kanora A., Maes D. (2009): The role of mycotoxins in pig reproduction: a review. Veterinarni Medicina, 54: 565-576.
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Mycotoxins are commonly present in feed for farm animals. Sows and gilts are highly susceptible to mycotoxins. This article presents a review describing the main mycotoxins encountered in pig feed which have a negative impact on sow fertility and reproduction. Consumption of feed that is contaminated with these mycotoxins may cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the type of mycotoxin, quantity and duration of exposure, as well as the health status and condition of the animal at the time of exposure. Two types of fungi are recognized, field fungi and storage fungi. Field fungi such as Fusarium spp., Aspergillus spp. and Claviceps spp. may produce toxins that lead to disturbed reproductive performance. Storage fungi occur if the humidity during storage is too high. In daily practice, the symptoms related to mycotoxicosis can occur at toxin concentrations below the detection limit. Knowledge of the effects of mycotoxins is expanding rapidly. Mycotoxins may still be present in feedstuffs despite negative analytical findings and because of the presence of hot spots in feed and or feedstuffs. Clinical symptoms can be very pronounced, making the diagnosis for the practitioner quite easy but in many cases the symptoms are vague and not at all present at herd level on a regular basis. The practitioner is in the first line of raising awareness in all parties whenever the first indication exists of a possible mycotoxicosis problem causing reproductive failure in breeding pigs. The problems can be resolved only if all parties involved in pig herd health take the necessary preventive measures and actions. The main toxins causing reproductive failure discussed in this article are aflatoxins, ergot alkaloids, trichothecenes and zearalenone.
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