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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.


Journal article


Research in Veterinary Science

Publication Date





167 - 172