Effect of drying and/or warming piglets at birth under warm farrowing room temperatures on piglet rectal temperature over the first 24 h after birth

Katherine D. Vande Pol, Andres F. Tolosa, Caleb M. Shull, Catherine B. Brown, Stephan A.S. Alencar, Clay A. Lents, Michael Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Piglets experience a decline in body temperature immediately after birth, and both drying and warming piglets at birth reduce this. However, these interventions may be less effective at higher farrowing room temperatures. This study was carried out at a commercial facility to compare the effect of drying and/or warming piglets at birth on postnatal rectal temperature (RT) under relatively warm farrowing room temperatures (26.6 ± 2.09 °C). Forty-five sows/litters were used in a completely randomized design to compare three Intervention Treatments (applied at birth): Control (no treatment); Warming (piglets placed in a plastic box under a heat lamp for 30 min); and Drying+Warming (piglets dried with desiccant and warmed as above). Temperatures in the warming boxes over the study period averaged 37.7 ± 2.75 °C. At birth, piglets were weighed; RT temperature was measured at 0, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 120, and 1,440 min after birth. Blood samples were collected at 24 h after birth from a subsample of one piglet from each birth weight quartile within each litter to measure plasma immunocrit concentration. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS with litter as the experimental unit, and piglet as a subsample of litter. The model for analysis of piglet rectal temperature included fixed effects of Intervention Treatment, measurement time (repeated measure), the interaction, and the random effect of sow. Compared with the Control, piglet RT were higher (P ≤ 0.05) for the Warming treatment between 10 and 60 min, and higher (P ≤ 0.05) for the Drying+Warming treatment between 10 and 120 min after birth. Rectal temperatures were higher (P ≤ 0.05) for the Drying+Warming than the Warming treatment between 20 and 120 min. Responses to drying and/or warming were greater for low-birth-weight piglets (<1.0 kg) than heavier littermates, but were generally less than observed in previous experiments with similar treatments carried out under cooler temperatures. Piglet immunocrit values were lower (P ≤ 0.05) for the Drying+Warming treatment compared to the other Intervention Treatments, which were similar (P > 0.05). Immunocrit values tended (P = 0.10) to be lower for light (<1.0 kg) compared with heavier birth weight piglets. In conclusion, drying and warming piglets at birth was more effective for reducing piglet RT decline after birth than warming alone, though the effect was less than observed in previous studies carried out under cooler farrowing room temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbertxab060
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • drying
  • farrowing
  • piglet
  • rectal temperature
  • room temperature
  • warming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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