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Blood Parameters and Weight Gain on Day 1 Linked to Survival

8 December 2011, at 12:00am

Survival of crossbred piglets to weaning was linked to several blood parameters at birth and on day 1 as well as weight gain on day 1, according to scientists based in Oslo, and piglets born in the last third of the litter were less vital.

Improving survival is a continuous objective in swine breeding. The aim of this study, according to V. Rootwelt and colleagues at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Oslo, was to record 22 blood parameters and weight gain the first day of life in Landrace-Yorkshire-Duroc crossbred piglets and to find associations between these parameters and survival at weaning. Their paper was published recently in Journal of Animal Science.

All live piglets from 18 litters were weighed and blood sampled at birth and day 1 and monitored to weaning at the age of five weeks. A total of 261 piglets were born, of which 8.8 per cent were stillborn. Additionally, 15.1 per cent died before weaning.

The blood parameters glucose, immunoglobulins and white blood cells increased from birth to day 1 (P<0.001) whereas α(1)- and β(1) globulin, red blood cells, haemoglobin and haematocrit decreased (P<0.001). At birth, levels of lactate (P=0.004), pH (P=0.007), red blood cells (P=0.017), haemoglobin (P=0.018) and haematocrit (P=0.052) were associated with survival to weaning. Also, levels of lactate increased (P=0.030) and pH decreased (P<0.001) when born in the last third of a litter.

On day 1, levels of glucose (P=0.015), haemoglobin (P=0.025) and weight gain (P=0.001) were all decreased in piglets that did not survive to weaning. Weight gain also decreased (P=0.005) when born in the last third of a litter.

Level of immunoglobulin G (IgG) on day 1 was not associated with survival at weaning (P=0.230) but decreased (P<0.001) when born in the last third of a litter.

The Oslo group concluded that several blood parameters recorded at birth and day 1, and weight gain on day 1 were highly associated with survival at weaning, and that being born in the last third of the litter was less favourable with regard to vitality.

Reference

Rootwelt V., Reksen O., Farstad W. and Framstad T. 2011. Blood parameters and weight gain the first day of life in crossbred pigs and importance for survival. Published online before print on 18 November 2011. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4435

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.


December 2011