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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dexamethasone Treatment at Birth Enhances Neonatal Growth in Swine

item Carroll, Jeffery

Submitted to: Domestic Animal Endocrinology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 22, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: During the last five years, we have been evaluating the influence of birth on subsequent growth in the young pig. Previous work in our laboratory has demonstrated that the stress and trauma associated with the natural birth process is necessary in order to assure optimal postnatal growth and performance. The objective of this study was to determine if administration nof an additional amount of stress hormone at birth would alter postnatal growth. For this study we used forty pigs which were injected with either sterile saline or dexamethasone (a potent synthetic stress hormone) within one hour of birth. The growth of these pigs was monitored during the first 18 days of life while the pigs were still nursing the sows. Results from this study demonstrated that growth rate was enhanced by more than 12 percent in those pigs which received the dexamethasone treatment within one hour of birth. Additionally, the hormones which are typically associated with postnatal growth, growth hormone and the insulin-like growth factors, were altered in the dexamethasone treated pigs in a manner which was consistent with the increased growth observed in these pigs. Given that early postnatal growth is highly correlated with growth throughout the pig's life, increasing early neonatal growth could potentially result in significant savings for the swine industry with regard to feed costs, facility costs, etc.

Technical Abstract:

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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