|Seaman, J - UNIV. OF MISSOURI|
|Berg, E - UNIV. OF MISSOURI|
|Safranski, T - UNIV. OF MISSOURI|
Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 24, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: We previously reported that dexamethasone (Dex) treatment at birth enhances pre-weaning growth in piglets. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of Dex treatment at birth on post-weaning piglet growth. Sixty-four crossbred piglets were assigned according to birth weight and sex to receive either sterile saline (Control; n=16 males and 17 females) or Dex (2 mg/kg body weight; n=14 males and 17 females) i.m. within 1 h of birth. Birth weights (1.543 +/ .270 kg) did not differ between Dex and Controls (P > .99) or males and females (P > .67). Weaning weights (21 d of age) were increased (P < .03) for Dex piglets (7.72 +/ 1.10 kg) compared to Controls (7.14 +/ 1.15 kg). At 7 wk of age, piglets were moved out of the nursery. There was a treatment x sex interaction in 7-wk weight (P < .07) such that no difference existed between Dex and Control females; however, Dex males (17.65 +/ 2.20 kg) were heavier (P < .08) than Control males (15.97 +/ 2.67 kg). ADG through weaning was increased (P < .03) in Dex piglets (.293 +/ .048 kg/d) compared to Controls (.267 +/ .047 kg/d). There was a treatment x sex interaction (P < .08) for ADG from birth to 7 wk of age. No effect of Dex treatment was observed in females (P > .59; however, a trend was observed in males (P < .08) such that Dex increased ADG compared to Controls. Further research is underway to determine whether this growth increase is maintained through the grow-finish phase and whether there are effects associated with carcass quality in Dex treatment. Given that the growth rate of the neonatal pig is considered to be less than half its potential, the use of hormonal therapies such as Dex at birth to enhance growth rates could prove to be of significant economical importance to the swine industry.