TTP Science

Pioneers in cutting-edge science and advanced nutrition for all swine classes internationally.


Tonisity Px is the first isotonic protein drink that contains key ingredients to nourish the intestinal cells, the enterocytes. Enterocytes are the final gateway for the absorption of proteins and carbohydrates into the body. If the enterocytes are working efficiently, then the body is able to absorb more nutrients. Tonisity Px contains ingredients which support the efficient function of the enterocytes. By supporting the enterocytes, Tonisity Px helps pigs overcome the key productivity hurdles of neonatal piglets and assists with a smooth transition through weaning.

Various strategies are used to try to overcome these hurdles. Milk replacer, electrolyte solutions and quick-start drenches are all used by producers to give extra energy and fluids to piglets. Antibiotics, probiotics, pre-biotics and plant extracts are all used in an attempt to modify the intestinal bacteria population. However, none of those strategies actually improve the function of the enterocytes, which are the engines that are responsible for absorbing any nutrients. A more focused approach is to nourish the intestinal cells themselves and help them to do the best job they can of absorbing nutrients. This is the approach that Tonisity has taken in the development of Tonisity Px.

Tonisity has taken great care to investigate how best to use Tonisity Px and to demonstrate the return on investment to producers. This research has shown that Tonisity Px has a positive impact and a positive ROI.

Question 1:

‘Will the Piglets Drink Tonisity Px at Such a Young Age?’
The Answer is Most Certainly Yes.

We have measured Tonisity Px consumption across 4 different trials, using 278 litters and 6,168 piglets. 500 mL of Tonisity Px was given once daily to litters from Days 2-8. Volume consumed was measured by weighing the amount given and then weighing the amount left in the pan the following morning.

Figure 1 shows the typical consumption pattern. On the first and second day, most litters will consume about 300 mL, though some will consume almost all of the 500 mL. By the 3rd day, most litters are consuming the entire 500 mL.

Why only 500 mL?

We know that piglets will drink more if they are allowed. We actually did study this and found that 500 mL/litter/day, or approximately 40 mL/pig/day can strike the right balance. Current producer feedback suggests that some larger litters might benefit from a slightly higher volume.

Figure 1

Question 2:

‘What Effect will Tonisity Px have on Productivity?’

We started with farms in the United Kingdom and then subsequently moved to on-farm trials in Spain and the USA. Trials were conducted under real-world farm conditions, with data collection performed by veterinarians and animal health technicians.

There are 2 main parameters to pre-weaning productivity - mortality and weaning weight. Providing early nutritional support to the enterocytes is the key strategy here. We’ve shown significant improvements in both parameters.

Study 1:

Effect of Tonisity Px on Pre-Weaning Mortality and Post-Weaning Weight (TON-USA-034)

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of Tonisity Px on pre-­weaning mortality and post-­weaning weight when given to suckling pigs from Days 2-8.

Materials and Methods
The study was conducted independently in a farrow-to-nursery operation with 7,200 sows located in Iowa, USA. The farm has an average liveborn of 12.8 pigs and a historic pre-weaning mortality of 13-14%. The farm was negative for PRRS at the time of the trial.

Seventy-three sows (PIC) and their litters (968 piglets) were enrolled in the study. Sows and their litters were randomized to one of two groups. Litters in the Tonisity Px group received 500 mL of Tonisity Px in an open pan, once daily from Days 2-8 of life. Litters in the control group received no extra supplementation. All piglets had access to an automatic drinker. The amount of Tonisity Px consumed was recorded daily. On Day 2, piglets were individually ear-tagged and weighed. Piglets were again weighed at Day 8, at weaning (~Day 19) and at Day 35. ADG at all time points was calculated based on actual days of age. Mortality and apparent cause of death were recorded daily. Three litters were withdrawn from the trial on Day 2 due to sow or litter health issues.

Statistical Analysis
Dependent variables weight and ADG were analyzed by a generalized linear model with the package GLM2, including group, parity, genetics, the interaction group x parity and the interaction group x genetics as fixed effects. Mortality was analysed with Fisher’s exact test. Results were considered significant at P ≤ 0.05 and considered a trend at P > 0.05 and P ≤ 0.10. Statistical analysis was performed using R software.


1. Pre-Weaning Mortality

The pre-weaning mortality was significantly lower in the Tonisity Px group (10.3%) compared to the control group (15.0%) (P = 0.029). The odds of survival in the Tonisity Px group was 1.55 times higher in the Tonisity Px group. See Table 1.

Table 1

Pre-weaning Mortality

2. Weight Gain

On Day 2 of age (baseline) there was no significant difference in bodyweight between the groups . At Day 8, the Tonisity Px group had an average daily gain of 205g [0.454 lb], compared to the control group that had gained an average of 186 g [0.412 lb]. The difference in body weight between groups at Day 8 was statistically significant at P = 0.002. Piglets were between 15-22 days of age when weaning weights were measured, and because of this wide range of ages, no significant differences between groups were seen at weaning. However, by 20 days post-weaning, differences in body weight were significantly different with the Tonisity Px pigs weighing 9.9 kg [21.8 lb] and control pigs weighing 9.0 kg [19.95 lb] (P = 0.006). These weights corresponded to differences in ADG of 227g [0.5 lb] for the Tonisity Px pigs and 205g [ 0.45 lb] for the control pigs (P = 0.015).

Table 2

Weight Gain*

* Values are least squares means ± standard error
† Weaning occurred between 15-22 days of age. Post-weaning weights were measured from 15-20 days post-weaning. All ADG values are based on actual days of age at weighing"

Conclusion and Relevance

Tonisity Px supplementation in the first week of life reduced PWM by 33% in this trial. Tonisity Px pigs weighed an extra 100g [0.3 lb] at Day 8 and an extra 783g [1.7 lb] at Day 40, showing a statistically significant impact upon weight gain.

Subsequent studies have shown a repeatable effect on pre-weaning mortality, which is attributed to better nutritional support of the intestinal enterocytes.

Study 2:

Meta-Analysis of Pre-Weaning Mortality

A meta-analysis of pre-weaning mortality was performed using data from 6 controlled trials that included 543 litters and 6,685 piglets. All studies for which litter mortality data was available were included. Data was analyzed using the litter as the experimental unit.

These studies were conducted in various sites, both in Spain and the USA, over a 12-month period from late 2015 to late 2016. All treatment litters received Tonisity Px 500 mL/day in an open pan from Days 2-8 of age, while control litters received no supplementation. All piglets were allowed to suckle normally. All litters were weaned at ~ 21 days of age.

Figure 2 is a forest plot that shows the relative risk of pre-weaning mortality in the treated piglets versus the control group with corresponding 95% confidence intervals in the individual studies. The analysis is based on a random-effects model performed with R-package Metafor.§

Figure 2.1
Figure 2.2

Relative Effect of Tonisity Px
on Pre-Weaning Mortality

The meta-analysis assigns a weighting to the number of pigs in each study and calculates their contribution to the overall effect. The size of the small black boxes represent the relative size of each population. The box’s position to the left of the dotted line represents the average reduction in mortality for that study.

Conclusion and Relevance

Piglets that were given Tonisity Px from Days 2-8 of age had a statistically significant (P = 0.001) 26% reduction in risk of mortality compared to non-Tonisity Px pigs (relative risk 0.74, 95% confidence interval 0.62-0.87, P = 0.001).

Our studies have also shown that Tonisity Px has a positive effect on growth of the intestinal villi.

This is important because the size of the villi - and all of the cells that are on the surface of the villi - can have a beneficial impact on the growth of the pig.

We’ve measured the effect of Tonisity Px on intestinal morphology in 2 different studies.

The first study assessed the effect of Tonisity Px when given from Days 2-8 of age. Intestinal histopathology samples were taken from representative pigs at 9 and 21 days of age.

Pigs that received Tonisity Px during the first week of life had significantly taller villi compared to pigs that had no Tonisity Px. Tonisity Px pigs also tended to have a thicker mucosal layer. Villus height increased by 8.3% (P < 0.001) and intestinal mucosal thickness increased by 9.0% (P < 0.087) by Day 9 in the Tonisity Px pigs.

The second study started with giving Tonisity Px to ½ of the litters from Day 2-8 (with the other litters forming the control group). Next, the pigs were also split into 3 sub-groups for weaning. The 3 sub-groups received either dry creep feed, gruel made with water, or gruel made with Tonisity Px.

Again, there were statistically significant differences in the Tonisity Px pigs. Villus height increased by 16.8% (P < 0.003) and intestinal mucosal thickness increased by 10.6% (P < 0.033) in the Tonisity Px pigs. These differences were irrespective of whether or not the pigs had Tonisity Px-gruel, water-gruel or dry creep feed in weaning. The only discriminator – even at D28 – was whether or not the pigs had been given Tonisity Px from Days 2-8 of life.

See how we presented intestinal morphology at AASV


Tonisity Px is also very effective at helping pigs make the transition through weaning. Effects of Tonisity Px when given as a gruel (porridge) 1-2 days before weaning and 1-2 days after weaning are:

Figure 8

Increased dry matter intake post-weaning

Figure 9

Increased % of pigs that gain weight in the first 7 days after weaning

Figure 10

Legend: The Tonisity Px-gruel pigs were significantly more likely to have positive ADG than the water-gruel group (OR 1.79, 95CI 1.05 – 3.04, P = 0.031) and also out-performed the dry creep group (OR 1.66, 95CI 0.95 – 2.92, P = 0.076). The number of pigs with positive ADG in the water-gruel group was not significantly different from the dry creep group (OR 0.93, 95CI 0.55 – 1.58, P = 0.788).

And this is especially true in the small piglets weighing less than 4.1 kg (9 lb)

Table 10

Positive ADG in the First Week Post-Weaning

Number and Percentage of Piglets By Feed Group and Weight Class