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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Growth, Physiology, and Reproduction

Postpartum deaths: Piglet, placental, and umbilical characteristics1

 

This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 91 No. 6, p. 2647-2656
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
     
    Received: June 05, 2012
    Accepted: Feb 27, 2013
    Published: November 25, 2014


    2 Corresponding author(s): vibeke.rootwelt@nvh.no
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doi:10.2527/jas.2012-5531
  1. V. Rootwelt 2,
  2. O. Reksen*,
  3. W. Farstad* and
  4. T. Framstad*
  1. Department of Production Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, N-0033 Oslo, Norway

Abstract

The fetal growth of the piglet is highly dependent on its placenta, and the newborn piglet birth weight is highly associated with postpartum death. However, there is little information available in the literature on the assessment of the placenta in relation to postpartum death in piglets. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the placental area and placental weight, status of the umbilical cord, and piglet birth characteristics, such as blood parameters, vitality score, and birth weight on postpartum death. All live born piglets in litters from 26 Landrace-Yorkshire sows were monitored during farrowing and the status of each was recorded, including placental area and placental weight and blood variables obtained from the piglets and umbilical veins. Out of the 386 live-born piglets, 16.8% died before weaning at 5 wk. Among these, 78.5% died within the first 3 d of life. Mean blood concentration of lactate was increased in piglets that did not survive to weaning (P = 0.003). Concentrations of hemoglobin and hematocrit were decreased (P < 0.001) compared with survivors. Piglets born with a broken umbilical cord had a reduced vitality score vs. piglets born with an intact umbilical cord (P = 0.021), and they had an increased probability of dying before weaning (P = 0.050). Mean birth weight, body mass index, placental area (P < 0.001), and placental weight (P = 0.020) were reduced in piglets that died before weaning vs. those that survived. Birth weight and placental area were furthermore negatively associated with live litter size. Blood concentrations of IgG and albumin recorded at d 1 were decreased in piglets that died before weaning (P < 0.01), and blood concentration of albumin was positively associated with placental area (P < 0.001). We conclude that placental area and placental weight, status of the umbilical cord, birth weight, body mass index, blood concentrations of lactate, hemoglobin, and hematocrit recorded at birth, and blood concentrations of IgG and albumin recorded at d 1 were associated with postpartum death in this study. These results may indicate that there is an upper uterine limitation of litter size and that placental area and placental weight influence postpartum survival.

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