Aflatoxicosis

Aflatoxins are mycotoxins produced during periods of drought and with great importance because they are carcinogenic, cause a reduction of the synthesis of proteins that affect the growth of pigs and weakens their immune system.

Alternative names: Mycotoxins, aflatoxin, Aspergillus

Information

Aflatoxins are a group of mycotoxins produced mainly by Aspergillus spp during periods of severe drought or crops infested with insects that damage the grain. Aflatoxins can also be produced in grains during storage. They are found in corn, peanuts and soybeans.

Aflatoxins primarily affect the liver causing hepatotoxicity. During the metabolism of aflatoxins in the liver, metabolites are produced that affect DNA, RNA, and protein production. This results in a variety of clinical signs that can range from a slow growth to immunodeficiency or cancer.

 

Symptoms

The symptoms of toxicosis due to aflatoxin depend on the dose, length of exposure, and age of the pigs. Young animals are more sensitive to acute intoxication. Its chronic presentation is the most common, with general symptoms of slow growth.

 

All ages

  • Hemorrhage.
  • Hairy pigs.
  • Slow growth.
  • Anorexia/weight loss.
  • Jaundice (yellowish color).
  • Immunosuppression.
  • Agalactia in lactating sows.

 

Causes / Contributing Factors

  • Crops affected by drought.
  • Crops affected by insects.
  • Inadequate treatment of cereals during harvest and transportation.

 

Diagnosis

  • There are several tests to identify the presence of aflatoxin in grain or feed.
  • Unfortunately, often suspected feed has been exhausted making it impossible to test for the presence of mycotoxins unless a sample is saved.

 

Control/Prevention

  • Remove the suspicious feed.
  • Use acid to preserve the grains.
  • Use adsorption products in feed.

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