Heat Stress Programme

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Climate change is becoming a truly global issue, influencing animal health and performance all over the world. Preventative strategies to mitigate heat stress are essential. With Selko's Heat Stress Programme we offer feed additive strategies that can support animal production during heat stress conditions in three ways: reducing oxidative stress, Osmotic changes, and optimising gut health and function. 

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Heat stress, a global challenge to protecting gut health and animal performance

Global climate changes have an effect on animal production. Where heat stress used to be an issue for certain regions only, nowadays also areas with moderate climates are affected. The number of days when the temperature-humidity index exceeds animals’ comfort threshold rises, heat stress has become one of the most important ambient stressors in animal production worldwide.

Heat stress occurs as an animal’s heat gain exceeds the heat it can dissipate. Modern production animals, selected for rapid growth, are more susceptible to heat stress, and adverse effects include decreased productivity, susceptibility to infectious diseases, and higher mortality. Annually, heat stress is estimated to cost global agricultural producers more than $150bn, according to research done in 2003. However, those losses only account for directly related adverse effects from heat stress – delayed results may be harder to quantify.

Selko's heat stress programme offers feed additive strategies that can support animal production during heat stress conditions in three ways

Selko's heat stress programme

Reducing oxidative stress:

When blood flow shifts to peripheral tissues during heat stress, internal organs, including the intestines suffer from oxidative stress. Feeding antioxidants and osmolytes can mitigate this problem. However, antioxidant sources used must have a strong potential to neutralise the free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Vitamin E is typically used in animal diets during heat stress, but has relatively little effect and works only in a lipid medium. Polyphenols are considered natural substances able to induce strong effects against free radicals generated in the GIT and throughout the body during heat stress conditions. The most effective polyphenols have higher bioavailability and are active in both lipid and water-based tissues. Trouw Nutrition developed AOmix, a feed additive comprised of highly bio-available polyphenols with potent antioxidative properties.

Osmotic changes:

As reduced performance is a key challenge during heat stress, osmoregulators are recommended for supplementation before the start of hot seasons. Osmoregulatory interventions mitigate the breakdown of intestinal epithelial cells and prevent the adverse effects of heat stress on villus height, thus preserving the gut’s capability for optimal nutrient uptake. Trouw Nutrition’s TNIbetain is a proven and effective osmoregulator that can help mitigate heat stress and improve performance.

Optimising gut health and function:

Heat stress harms gut health and functionality. Research has shown increased immune cell infiltration into the gut wall of heat stress-exposed animals. This is likely due to loss of gut barrier integrity and the translocation of pathogens, bacterial compounds, and small particles triggering an inflammatory response. Long-term heat stress may activate a mechanism in the small intestine to maintain homeostasis between commensal bacteria and the immune system. Presan helps stabilise gut microbiota, strengthen gut barrier integrity and support gut health during heat stress. This affects weight gain and gut barrier function compared to control groups. Trouw Nutrition invests in research to understand the underlying mechanisms of heat stress and develop effective management and nutritional approaches.


Addressing free radicals and oxidative stress

An initial point of damage for livestock experiencing heat stress is oxidative stress and the generation of free radicals. Antioxidants in feed can help livestock mitigate potential damage by scavenging (grabbing) free radicals, but not all antioxidants function in the same way. To provide optimal protection, antioxidants need to be able to distribute throughout the animal including through both lipid and water-based structures and have high digestibility and bioavailability. Those requirements mean that not every antioxidant is suitable for addressing heat stress-based challenges.

Preventing gut damage

Another area where livestock can suffer damage during heat stress is the intestinal barrier. Heat stress generates a thermoregulatory response that can alter blood flow patterns leading to intestinal hypoxia and a breakdown of intestinal integrity. The consequence of damaged intestinal barrier function is increased pathogenic movement within the animal.

Our products contain AOmix with proven distribution and efficacy in mitigating oxidative stress. 

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