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Influence of birth order, birth weight, colostrum and serum immunoglobulin G on neonatal piglet survival

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Author(s): Cabrera Rafael A | Lin Xi | Campbell Joy M | Moeser Adam J | Odle Jack

Journal: Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
ISSN 1674-9782

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 42;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Birth order | Birth weight | Immunoglobulin G | Colostrum | Survivability

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Intake of colostrum after birth is essential to stimulate intestinal growth and function, and to provide systemic immunological protection via absorption of Immunoglobulin G (IgG). The birth order and weight of 745 piglets (from 75 litters) were recorded during a one-week period of farrowing. Only pigs weighing greater than 0.68 kg birth weight were chosen for the trial. Sow colostrum was collected during parturition, and piglets were bled between 48 and 72 hours post-birth. Piglet serum IgG and colostral IgG concentrations were determined by radial immunodiffusion. Results Sow parity had a significant (P < 0.001) effect on sow colostral IgG concentration, being 5% higher in multiparous females. Sow colostral IgG concentration explained 6% and piglet birth order accounted for another 4% of the variation observed in piglet serum IgG concentration (P < 0.05); however, birth weight had no detectable effect. Piglet serum IgG concentration had both a linear (P < 0.05) and quadratic effect (P < 0.05) on % survival. Piglets with 1,000 mg/dl serum IgG or less (n=24) had a 67% survival; whereas, piglets with IgG concentrations between 2250 to 2500 mg/dl (n=247) had a 91% survival. Birth order had no detectable effect on survival, but birth weight had a positive linear effect (P < 0.05). Piglets weighing 0.9 kg (n = 107) at birth had a 68% survival rate, and those weighing 1.6 kg (n = 158) had an 89% survival. Conclusion We found that the combination of sow colostrum IgG concentration and birth order can account for 10% of the variation of piglet serum IgG concentration and that piglets with less than 1,000 mg/dl IgG serum concentration and weight of 0.9 kg at birth had low survival rate when compared to their larger siblings. The effective management of colostrum uptake in neonatal piglets in the first 24 hrs post-birth may potentially improve survival from birth to weaning.
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