Effects of antigenic challenge on growth and composition of segregated early-weaned pigs

Allan P. Schinckel, PhD; L. Kirk Clark, DVM, PhD; Greg Stevenson, DVM, PhD; Kay E. Knox; Judy Nielsen, DVM; Alan L. Grant, PhD; Deana L. Hancock, PhD; John Turek, PhD

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of antigen exposure on pig growth from 12 days of age to market weight. One hundred forty barrows were weaned at 10-14 days of age and placed in an off-site nursery. Control barrows (n = 76) received no antigenic challenge. Sixty four barrows, 32 per treatment, received either a moderate or an intense level of antigenic challenge.Antigens, including an Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide and vaccines, were administered at 12 to 84 days of age, which corresponds to ages of exposure to infectious agents on commercial farms between 12 and 84 days.

Antigen-treated pigs weighed significantly less (P < 0.05) thancontrol pigs on all weigh days between 28 days of age and market; however, after 107 days of age, the antigen-treated pigs grew 11% faster than the control pigs. Antigen-challenged pigs required approximately 4 days more than control pigs to attain 120 kg (264 Ib).

Although loin eye area, optical probe muscle depth, and carcass length were initially greater for control barrows, due to compensatory lean growth in the antigen-treated pigs after 107 days of age, the treatment differencesin lean mass decreased to 1.4 kg at 120 kg (264 Ib).

The antigenic challenges used in this trial explained only a small percentage of the differences in performance between minimal-disease segregated early-weaned pigs used in this experiment and contemporary conventionally weaned commercial pigs.

Keywords: SEW, segregated early weaning, antigenic challenge

RIS citationCite as: Schinckel AP, Clark LK, Stevenson G, et al. Effects of antigenic challenge on growth and composition of segregated early-weaned pigs. J Swine Health Prod 1995;3(6):228-234.

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