Porcine Health Management (Dec 2022)

The effect of piglet vitality, birth order, and blood lactate on the piglet growth performances and preweaning survival

  • Md Karim Uddin,
  • Shah Hasan,
  • Olli Peltoniemi,
  • Claudio Oliviero

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 1
pp. 1 – 9


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Abstract Background Litter size is going up in modern pig production. Due to large litter size and increased farrowing duration, newborn piglets, during parturition, can suffer from asphyxiation. This alters their blood energy parameters and can contribute to their reduced vitality at birth, which is detrimental to their growth performance and survival. We aimed to evaluate the effects of vitality score, piglets’ umbilical cord blood lactate, glucose, and butyrate, and birth order on growth performance and the preweaning mortality of piglets. Results The more vital (vitality score 2, VS2) piglets had higher umbilical cord blood glucose and butyrate, lower blood lactate, and higher colostrum intake (CI) at birth, and showed higher body weight at birth and at weaning than did less vital piglets (vitality score 1, VS1). Umbilical cord lactate negatively correlated with vitality, colostrum intake, and growth before weaning. Among the four birth-order groups (BOGs), piglets born earlier during parturition had a higher mean vitality score than those born later. BOG1 and BOG2 had significantly higher CI (p < 0.05) than BOG3 and BOG4. Conclusion Changes in piglets’ body weight, colostrum intake, and umbilical cord lactate are associated with piglet vitality and asphyxiation during farrowing. In addition, asphyxiation induced higher umbilical cord lactate may serve as an indicator of low vitality and low colostrum consumption. Overall, improvement in piglets’ vitality and in the farrowing process can help in reducing piglet mortality.