Role of mycotoxins in herds with and without problems with tail necrosis in neonatal pigs
This study aimed to investigate a possible involvement of mycotoxins in neonatal tail necrosis in piglets. Ten affected and 10 non-affected farms were selected. Sow feed samples were analysed for the presence of 23 mycotoxins by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Blood plasma samples of sows and their piglets were analysed for the presence of deoxynivalenol (DON), de-epoxydeoxynivalenol, T-2 and HT-2 toxin, zearalenone, alfa-zearalenol, and beta-zearalenol, using LC-MS/MS. Additionally, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) was performed to detect DON-glucuronide (DON-Glca). There was a significant difference between case herds and control herds for mean DON concentrations in feed and sow plasma. For piglet samples, concentrations of DON were above the limit of quantification of 0.1 ng/ml in only 12 samples. Positive correlations were found between DON concentrations in sow feed and plasma of sows; DON concentration in sow feed and DON-Glca concentration in plasma of sows; and between DON and DON-Glca concentration in sow-plasma. In conclusion, high prevalence of DON in feed samples was found, with significantly higher concentrations in case herds, as well as the presence of DON and DON-Glca in sow plasma. Additional research is needed to identify risk factors, including within-herd factors, associated with neonatal tail necrosis in piglets.