Quantitation of small intestinal structure and function in unthrifty piglets
Hall GA., Parsons KR., Batt RM., Bunch KJ.
Litters of piglets were weighed at birth, weaning and five weeks later; pairs of thrifty and unthrifty weaned pigs were identified. Small intestinal structure and function were studied in 28 eight-week-old age-matched littermate pairs and in 16 weight-matched littermates. A comparison of age-matched piglets showed changes in mucosal structure in unthrifty piglets, a slight reduction in absorptive function but no biochemical evidence of small intestinal disease. Morphometric studies of weight-matched piglets revealed no differences between thrifty and unthrifty piglets, suggesting that the differences in the age-matched groups may have been an effect of body-weight. If unthrifty pigs grew slowly as a result of small intestinal damage and malfunction immediately after weaning no evidence of it remained when they were studied five weeks later.