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Researchers Seek More Options for Piglets

31 May 2017
Manitoba Pork Council


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CANADA - A Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre says new options now available and in development are making providing pain control to piglets during painful procedures more practical, Bruce Cochrane reports.

Under Canada's revised Pig Code of Practice pork producers are now required to provide pain control to treat post procedural pain when tail docking or castrating piglets.

Dr Jenifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says in the past pain control options were limited.

Dr Jenifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre

When this first came out there really weren't a lot of drugs or formulations available for piglets.

Meloxicam and Ketoprofen were available but they were in concentrated formulations more suitable for an adult animal but the body weight of a piglet is so small now the drug companies are coming out with more diluted formulations more similar to what's been used in companion animals and cats and dogs.

Also there's an oral formulation now available for Meloxicam so, if you want to go with a needleless system, you could give that oral Meloxicam.

There's also research ongoing on the possibility of combining pain control with an iron injection so that you wouldn't be giving two injections.

You could provide both iron and pain control in one shot.

That's research going on at the University of Guelph.

There might be some other potential options down the road.

Another thing that researchers have looked at is the possibility of providing the pain control to the sow and then she could provide it to the piglets through the milk.

That way it would require either one injection or one oral treatment of the sow to treat the entire litter which would be very efficient if we could find the right drug for that.

Dr Brown suggests researchers need to identify the most effective, convenient and economical drugs and to determine the benefits of providing pain control to piglets.

She says, going forward, more effective and less costly tools would be nice to have.

ThePigSite News Desk

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