How can you ensure longevity for your sows and avoid liver torsion?

Liver torsion could be due to large amounts of feed and high raw protein content in sows

There are many things to focus on in a sow unit, and one of them is longevity.  Sow mortality in eg. Denmark is around 12-13% in total. Half of those deaths occur spontaneously in the farrowing house, without any prior symptoms, and can be hard to diagnose.

The Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture studied ‘spontaneous death’ and found that 42% of the cases were due to liver torsion. We take a look below at 3 possible feed-related reasons for why you may experience liver torsion in your herd.

1) Over-eating/feeding frequency can be a factor – the fewer daily feeds, the lower the risk

If feeding takes place at a minimum of 3 times a day, the amount of feed per time will hardly be a fluctuating factor. But remember that the energy concentration in feed for nursing sows has to be sufficiently high. This avoids the physical volume of the feed being unnecessarily high. In some instances, this may help prevent the problem.

2) High protein mixtures 

Feed mixtures with a high protein content are also under suspicion. In practice, these will be mixtures over 125 g digestible crude protein/FE. The theory is that high protein content can stimulate liver tissue growth.

3) Undesirable fermentation

Another, and perhaps more valid theory, is that liver torsion is due to high fermentation of the feed in the sow’s gastrointestinal system. Extra gas is produced, causing expansion of the abdominal sac. This damages the connective tissue structure holding the liver in place.

This theory matches the experience that Vilomix has with its product, BioPro Antibac.    

BioPro Antibac consists of a unique combination of fatty acids and monoglycerides. The product is specifically designed to provide the optimum microbial balance throughout the gastrointestinal tract, ensuring good intestinal integrity.

BioPro Antibac must be dosed at 0.25% in the feed via the mineral mix to achieve a good effect.

Note: This article was written on the basis of

Talk to your Vilomix consultant if you have any questions concerning sows and liver torsion