Effects of farrowing induction on suckling piglet performance

R. E. Gunvaldsen; C. Waldner, DVM, PhD; J. C. Harding, DVM, MSc

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Objectives: To compare growth performance and survivability in piglets of induced sows and in gestational-age-matched piglets of noninduced sows; to evaluate a novel intra-abdominal injection site; and to determine the incidence of adverse reactions to cloprostenol.

Materials and methods: The 122 sows in this study were allocated to two treatment groups or served as controls. Treatments consisted of two 1-mL (87.5-μg) injections of cloprostenol administered at a 6-hour interval on gestation day 114, either vulvomucosally (VM) or intra-abdominally (AB) into the external abdominal oblique muscle. Controls received two 1-mL injections of sterile saline administered at a 6-hour interval.

Results: Average gestation length in noninduced and induced sows was 117.0 and 115.1 days, respectively (P < .001), with no differences between the VM and AB groups. For every day of gestation, piglet growth rate increased 26 g per day (P < .01). Body weights at 16 days of age were 576 grams lower (P < .01), and the relative risk of morbidity was 2.0 times higher (P < .01), in piglets of induced sows. There was a tendency towards higher mortality during lactation in piglets of induced sows.

Implications: Piglets born to sows induced 2 days before the herd’s average gestation length grew more slowly and suffered higher risk of morbidity during lactation compared to piglets of noninduced sows. It is important to understand the objectives of a farrowing induction program and the average gestation length of specific sow subpopulations in herds to avoid production loss associated with premature farrowings.

Keywords: farrowing induction, piglet performance, cloprostenol, prostaglandin F2-alpha

RIS citationCite as: Gunvaldsen RE, Waldner C, Harding JC. Effects of farrowing induction on suckling piglet performance. J Swine Health Prod 2007;15(2):84-91.

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