Handling Associated with Drenching Does Not Impact Survival and General Health of Low Birth Weight Piglets

Kevin Van Tichelen, Sara Prims, Miriam Ayuso, Céline Van Kerschaver, Mario Vandaele, Jeroen Degroote, Steven Van Cruchten, Joris Michiels, Chris Van Ginneken
2021 Animals  
The increase in litter sizes in recent years has resulted in more low birth weight (LBW) piglets, accompanied by a higher mortality. A potential intervention to overcome this is drenching bioactive substances. However, if the act of drenching provokes additional stress in LBW piglets, it might counteract the supplement's effect and be detrimental for the piglet's survival. To study the effect of the drenching act, piglets from 67 sows were weighed within 4 h after birth. The mean litter birth
more » ... mean litter birth weight (MLBW) and standard deviation (SD) were calculated. LBW piglets (n = 76) were defined as weighing between (MLBW-1*SD) and (MLBW-2.5*SD). They were randomly allocated to two treatments: "sham" (conducting the act of drenching by inserting an empty 2.5 mL syringe in the mouth during 20 s, once a day, d1 till d7; n = 37) or "no treatment" (no handling; n = 39). On day 1, 3, 9, 24 and 38, piglets were weighed and scored for skin lesions. Blood samples were collected on day 9 and 38 and analyzed to determine glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), urea, immunoglobulin G (IgG), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and a standard blood panel test. There was no difference between sham drenched and untreated piglets regarding any of the parameters. In conclusion, this study showed that drenching does not impose a significant risk to LBW piglets and can be applied safely during the first 7 days after birth.
doi:10.3390/ani11020404 pmid:33562568 fatcat:gz5whfipgjadlkztb5naf7vncy