Effects of Pharmacological Concentrations of Dietary Zinc Oxide on Growth of Post-weaning Pigs: A Meta-analysis
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- Sales, J. Biol Trace Elem Res (2013) 152: 343. doi:10.1007/s12011-013-9638-3
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Pharmacological dietary zinc (Zn) concentrations of 1,000 to 3,000 mg/kg diet from Zn oxide have been found to increase growth in post-weaning pigs. However, results were inconsistent among studies. A frequentist meta-analysis, in which effects were numerically described with standardized effect sizes (Hedges's g), was conducted in order to identify and quantify the responses in average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and gain to feed ratio (G/F) in post-weaning pigs upon dietary Zn supplementation from Zn oxide. The inability of independent continuous variables to explain significant heterogeneity obtained with fixed effect models necessitated the use of random effects models to calculate summary statistics. Dietary Zn supplementation increased (P < 0.05) ADG (mean effect size = 1.086, 95 % confidence intervals = 0.905–1.266, 26 studies, 72 comparisons), ADFI (mean effect size = 0.794, 95 % confidence intervals = 0.616–0.971, 25 studies, 71 comparisons), and G/F (mean effect size = 0.566, 95 % confidence intervals = 0.422–0.710, 24 studies, 70 comparisons). Zinc oxide provided a feasible alternative to in-feed antibiotics to improve growth in post-weaning pigs, and its reduction in diets due to potential environmental pollution will have to be negated by alternative feed additives and management strategies in order to prevent economic losses.