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Placebo-controlled study on the effects of oral administration of Allium sativum L in postweaning piglets
  1. Hannah Ayrle1,2,
  2. Heiko Nathues3,
  3. Anna Bieber1,
  4. Manuela Durrer1,
  5. Nele Quander1,
  6. Meike Mevissen2 and
  7. Michael Walkenhorst1
  1. 1 Department of Livestock Sciences, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Frick, Switzerland
  2. 2 Division of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Clinic for Swine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  1. E-mail for correspondence; hannah.ayrle{at}


Postweaning diarrhoea (PWD) due to Escherichia coli is an economically important disease in pig production. In this placebo-controlled study performed in Switzerland, the effects of oral supplementation of Allium sativum L. (garlic, AS) on performance (bodyweight (BW) and daily weight gain (DWG)) and health (body condition and clinical score) were investigated in postweaning piglets. Piglets (n=600) were randomly assigned to the treatment groups (placebo, AS or colistin) and observed from birth until three weeks postweaning. The treatments were administered for the first two weeks postweaning. Faecal dry matter (FDM) and coliform bacteria on pen level were measured weekly. Data were analysed using generalised mixed-effect models in R. BW and DWG of the AS group were significantly higher compared with placebo in the third week postweaning. No differences in body condition and FDM were observed. The clinical score of AS-treated animals was significantly better compared with the colistin group. About 33 per cent of the piglets of the AS and the placebo group had to be treated with antibiotics due to the occurrence of severe PWD. The major finding of this study showed that AS supplementation increased growth performance and improved clinical health, but did not reduce the incidence and severity of PWD.

  • medicinal plants
  • swine
  • postweaning diarrhoea
  • garlic
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  • Funding This work was funded by the Swiss retailer Migros (project # 50054). The funding institution was neither involved in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of the obtained data nor in writing the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The trial was supported by the cantonal veterinary office of Lucerne and was conducted according to the Swiss law on animal welfare and the EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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