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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Using Serology in Combination with Acute Phase Proteins and Cortisol to Determine Stress and Immune Function of Early-Weaned Pigs

Authors
item Grellner, G - COUNTRYSIDE VET CLINIC
item Fangman, T - UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
item Carroll, Jeffery

Submitted to: Swine Health and Production
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: In this study we evaluated serum concentrations of acute phase proteins (APPs) to determine if changes in these proteins would be associated with changes in health status and/or performance in pigs reared in two types of weaning environments. APPs are a group of liver synthesized serum proteins whose concentration will change in response to injury, infection, inflammation or common insult to the body such as stress or diet change. The change in serum acute phase proteins can be used to monitor a systemic response to a physiological insult. APPs have the potential to act as physiological indicators of stress and diseases. Profiling a particular APP can provide an investigator with diagnostic information that can lead to an improvement in overall herd health. For this study, we weaned approximately 2000 pigs into two separate weaning environments. One group of pigs was weaned into a typical nursery environment and then transferred to a grow/finish facility. The other group was weaned into a wean-to-finis facility. Serum samples were collected periodically to assess the above mentioned parameters. In the present study, we did not find that acute phase proteins were an indication of disease, but may be useful in detecting stress in weaned pigs. Also, this study indicates that pigs weaned into a wean-to-finish facility may experience more stress initially than pigs weaned into a typical nursery facility. This information will be of interest to scientists, veterinarians and producers, and will be helpful in identifying and/or eliminating parameters which can or cannot be used to assess health status in swine herds.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to determine if changes in serum alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP), haptoglobin (HPT), mycoplasma (Myco), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRS) titers and cortisol would be associated with health status and performance. Approximately 2000 barrows (11-14 days of age) were weaned over a 4-wk period. Pigs were weaned into either a nursery facility (WNF; n=998)) or into a wean-to-finish facility (WF; n=999), both located off-site. Serum was collected from 20 pigs/system at weaning, 50, 85, 110 and 130 days of age. There was no difference in mean serum AGP at 12 days of age between the groups. Serum AGP increased (P < 0.03) over the next 5 wks in both groups. Maximum serum AGP was observed at 50 days of age for both groups. In both groups, overall body weights were negatively correlated (P < 0.0007) to serum AGP. Serum HPT increased (P < 0.02) in both groups from 12 to 130 days of age. At 12 days of age, serum HPT was greater (P < 0.0001) in the WF group. In the WNF group, overall serum HPT was highly correlated to serum Myco titers. From 12 to 50 days of age, there was an increase (P < 0.0001) in Myco for the WF group. Serum PRRS titers remained relatively stable and had a negative classification for herd status. Serum cortisol was greater (P = 0.04) in the WNF group at 12 days of age. From 12 to 50 days of age, serum cortisol decreased (P = 0.0008) in the WNF group while increasing (P = 0.007) in the WF group. Maximum serum cortisol was observed at 85 and 110 days of age for the WF and WNF groups, respectively. Acute phase proteins were not an indication of disease in this trial, but may detect stress in weaned pigs. Cortisol levels along with HPT levels tended to help explain the stress that occurred in the pigs throughout the trial.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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