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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Nursery Performance of Pigs Injected with Exogenous Glucocorticoids at Weaning

Authors
item Gaines, Aaron - UNIV OF MISSOURI
item Carroll, Jeffery
item Allee, Gary - UNIV OF MISSOURI

Submitted to: Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 24, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: GAINES, A.M., CARROLL, J.A., ALLEE, G.L. NURSERY PERFORMANCE OF PIGS INJECTED WITH EXOGENOUS GLUCOCORTICOIDS AT WEANING. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL AND VETERINARY ADVANCES. 2003. v. 2. p. 22-26.

Interpretive Summary: The overall objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of a potent synthetic glucocorticoid (Predef®) at weaning on feed intake and growth performance in young pigs. At weaning, pigs undergo a period of nutritional restriction due to lack of feed intake associated with the stress of weaning, a change in dietary form, as well as maternal separation and new social structures. This study consisted of a 21-day growth experiment to determine if an exogenous glucocorticoid could stimulate the weaned pig's appetite and enhance performance during the early postweaning period. At weaning, 30 pigs were weighed and allotted to one of three treatments: saline (control), Dex (2 mg/kg BW i.m. injection of dexamethasone) or Predef ® (2 mg/kg BW i.m. injection of Predef® 2 X). Feed intake and growth were monitored on all experimental groups for the 21-day period. During the first 7 days postweaning, pigs treated with Predef® had higher feed intake compared to control and Dex pigs. At day 7 postweaning, Predef® pigs were heavier, gained faster, and consumed more feed compared to control and Dex pigs. By day 14 postweaning, Predef® pigs tended to be heavier compared to the other pigs, but there were no differences in average daily gain, feed intake, or feed conversion. At day 21 postweaning, there were no differences in any of the parameters measured. For the overall 21-day growth period, there was a trend for average daily feed intake to be higher in Predef® pigs compared to control and Dex pigs. These results indicate that a single Predef® injection at weaning improves growth performance of pigs during the first 7 days postweaning, a period of time that is critical for subsequent postweaning performance and well-being. Given that this research has the potential to significantly impact the economics associated with swine production, it will be of interest to swine veterinarians and swine producers throughout the United States as well as other countries. This information will also be of interest to all individuals associated with swine production including scientists in academia, government, and industry.

Technical Abstract: A 21-d growth experiment was conducted to investigate effects of glucocorticoid injection on postweaning pig performance. At weaning, 30 pigs were weighed and allotted to one of three treatments: saline (control), Dex (2 mg/kg BW i.m. injection of dexamethasone) or Predef® (2 mg/kg BW i.m. injection of Predef® 2 X). Initial weights at weaning (5.57 +/- 0.02 kg) did not differ among treatments (P < 0.75). During the first 7 days postweaning, there was a Time × Treatment effect for ADFI (P < 0.02) with Predef® pigs having higher feed intakes compared to control and Dex pigs. At d 7, Predef® pigs were heavier (P < 0.002), gaining faster (P < 0.001), and consuming more feed (P < 0.04) compared to control and Dex pigs. By d 14, Predef® pigs tended to be heavier (P < 0.08) compared to control and Dex pigs. There were no differences in ADG (P < 0.97), ADFI (P < 0.84), or Gain:Feed (P < 0.30) during the 2nd week postweaning. At d 21, there were no differences in BW (P < 0.17), ADG (P < 0.77), or ADFI (P < 0.51). For the overall period, there were no differences in ADG (P < 0.16) or Gain:Feed (P < 0.12). There was a trend for ADFI to be higher in Predef® pigs (P < 0.10) compared to control and Dex pigs. Results indicate that dexamethasone injection immediately postweaning does not improve performance; however, Predef® injection does improve growth performance of pigs during the first 7 days postweaning.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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