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Investigation of the Impacts of Induced Parturition, Birth Weight, Birth Order, Litter Size and Sow Parity on Piglet Serum Immunoglobulin G

05 June 2013

A recent paper from Canada reveals that, while supervision of farrowing may allow for improved colostrum intake with benefits to passive immunity, first-born pigs did not appear to get more than their share of the available immunoglobulins.

Impacts of induced parturition, birth weight, birth order, litter size and sow parity on piglet serum concentrations of immunoglobulin G (IgG) have been investigated by K. Ngyuen of the University of Guelph in Canada and co-authors there and the University of Adelaide in Australia. 

In Journal of Swine Health and Production, they report two experiments. In Experiment 1, sows were either induced to farrow (n=56) or allowed to farrow naturally (n=84). Litters of induced sows were placed immediately into a warm crèche until farrowing was complete, then all piglets were weighed and placed with the sow at the same time. Blood samples were collected at three days of age from one or two of the smallest pigs, one medium pig and the largest pig in each litter for measurement of serum IgG.

In Experiment 2, the first-born and last-born piglets in 78 litters were blood sampled at three days of age and sera were assayed for total IgG.

In Experiment 1, mean serum IgG concentration was higher in piglets from induced litters than in piglets from control sows (P<0.001). Serum IgG concentrations increased with increased piglet weight (P<0.001). Piglets from larger litters had lower serum IgG (P<0.001). Serum IgG concentrations in piglets were not affected by sow parity (Experiment 1) or birth order (Experiment 2).

Supervision of farrowing may allow for improved colostrum intake with benefits to passive immunity, concluded Nguyena nd co-authors but first-born pigs do not appear to get a disproportionate share of available immunoglobulins.

Reference

Nguyen K., G. Cassar, R.M. Friendship, C. Dewey, A. Farzan, R.N. Kirkwood and D. Hodgins. 2013. An investigation of the impacts of induced parturition, birth weight, birth order, litter size, and sow parity on piglet serum concentrations of immunoglobulin G. J Swine Health Prod. 21(3):139-143.

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

June 2013

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