Body composition and organ development of intra-uterine growth restricted pigs at weaning

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Sow litter sizes have increased, subjecting more small piglets to intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR). Research on the development and growth of IUGR pigs is limited. The objective of this study was to compare the body composition and organ development of IUGR pigs at weaning, and to estimate their growth performance from birth to 30 kg. A total of 142 IUGR and 142 normal piglets were classified at birth based on their head morphology. At weaning, 20 IUGR and 20 normal piglets were collected, a whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorption scan was performed, and the piglets were euthanized for organ measurements. Body weight (BW) was measured weekly from birth to 30 kg, rectal temperature and whole-blood glucose levels were measured weekly from birth to weaning, and blood samples were collected at days 7, 14 and 21 for IGF-1 analysis. Results showed that IUGR pigs have a similar percentage of adipose tissue (P > 0.05) compared to normal pigs at 24 days of age. Organs were smaller (P 0.05) from weaning to 30 kg. Rectal temperature of IUGR piglets was greater (P 0.05) between IUGR and normal piglets. In conclusion, IUGR piglets exhibited some relatively larger organs at weaning compared to normal pigs, but body composition was similar between IUGR and normal pigs. In addition, IUGR pigs had a reduced ADG from birth to 30 kg, and, although they exhibited a greater FADG during nursing, IUGR pigs still require six additional days to reach a BW of 30 kg in comparison to normal pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)322-329
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 228155479