Absorption of energy and IgG at birth from colostrum may improve survival and immune competency of newborn piglets (Le Dividich et al., 2005). Adequate intake of colostrum may be difficult for piglets due to low birth weight, birth order, or viability. Colostrum supplements and replacers using functional proteins have been developed for calves. In the pig, a single dose of a colostrum supplement made with different energy sources influenced IgG absorption (Bikker et al., 2010) whereas other components resulted in similar or higher IgG absorption compared to sow colostrum. Most colostrum supplements have been administered as a single dose; however, because piglets suckle multiple times throughout the day, whether other dosing regimens may affect absorption is unknown. Therefore, further development of supplement formulas with additional dosing schedules may improve IgG absorption and energy reserves to improve neonatal mortality. The objectives of this study were to evaluate colostrum supplement formulas, each with IgG from porcine plasma but with different energy sources and orally fed at different dosing regimens on piglet serum IgG content and absorption of IgG compared to pooled sow colostrum
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Animal care and treatment procedures were reviewed by licensed veterinarians and complied with established guidelines (FASS, 1999). The research was conducted on a 1,800-sow unit located in Smithfield, NC. A total of 96 piglets (Newsham Choice Genetics, West Des Moines, IA) from 12 sows (parity 1 to 7) with an average birth weight of 1,288 g (range: 705 to 2,130 g) were used. Sows were allowed to farrow naturally, without intervention. Eight piglets were removed from each sow immediately at birth, prior to suckling. Birth time and weight was recorded. Piglets were ear-tagged and housed in plastic containers (4 littermates per container) positioned under radiant heat lamps for the duration of the 12-h experiment. After 8 pigs were collected from a litter, they were randomly assigned to receive either pooled sow colostrum or 1 of 3 colostrum supplements (A, B, or C) fed at 2 dosing regimens according to a 4 × 2 factorial randomized complete block design.
Formulas A to C (Table 1) contained proprietary mixtures of fortified porcine IgG and energy sources, and the pooled colostrum was obtained from 5 contemporary multiparious sows (parity 2 to 7) within 24 h of parturition. The sow colostrum was stored frozen for 1 wk prior to use. Dry formulas (A to C) were reconstituted to 42% wt/wt (84 g powder plus 116 g reverse osmosis water preheated to 39°C) by vigorous shaking. Reconstituted formulas and sow colostrum were stored under refrigeration but preheated to 39°C prior to gavage. Products were gavaged via gastric intubation using a 10 French feeding tube. Piglets were held from behind the head with thumb and forefinger extending to the corners of the piglets mouth. Gentle pressure was applied to open the piglet’s mouth and the tube was inserted. If the piglet delayed in swallowing the tube, a few drops of the colostrum formula were administered into the piglet’s mouth to lubricate and induce the swallowing reflex. With experience, the average length of time required to gavage a piglet was around 1 min. The average time lapse between birth and first gavage was 126 min (range: 16 to 294 min).
|Treatment||Protein, mg/mL||IgG, mg/mL||Fat, mg/mL|
|Pooled sow colostrum||224||67.7||57.0|
|Colostrum supplement A||202||67.2||86.9|
|Colostrum supplement B||202||67.2||81.9|
|Colostrum supplement C||197||67.2||79.8|
Piglets received their allotted treatment either as one 30-mL dose at 0 h or three 10-mL doses at 0, 2, and 4 h. Pigs received ad libitum water at 2 h intervals after receiving their last treatment dose using a dosing bottle with a 7-cm hard-plastic spout. Piglets were held as described and the spout was positioned on the back of the tongue. As the water was pumped, the piglet could be observed swallowing; water was administered until swallowing ceased.
Twelve hours after the first oral gavage, piglets were reweighed and 4 mL of blood was collected by jugular venipuncture. Hematocrit was determined immediately using heparinized capillary centrifugation. The remaining blood was allowed to clot and serum was prepared by centrifugation at 1,300 × g for 10 min at 4°C. Sera was aliquotted and frozen at –20°C for subsequent measurement of IgG via radial immunodiffusion assay (Triple-J Farms, Bellingham, WA), protein via bicinchoninic acid (Pierce-Thermo Fisher, Rockford, IL), and glucose via glucose analyzer (Yellow Springs Instruments, Yellow Springs, OH).
Data were analyzed by ANOVA appropriate as a 4 × 2 factorial arrangement in a randomized complete block design using PROC GLM of SAS (SAS Institute, Cary, NC). A P-value < 0.05 was considered significant.
Pooled sow colostrum contained more protein, less fat, and similar IgG as colostrum supplements (Table 1). All colostrum supplements were similar in protein, fat, and IgG content. Piglet birth weights and final (12 h) BW did not differ among treatments (Table 2); however, pigs fed sow colostrum lost more weight (–72 g) than pigs fed the colostrum supplements (–40 g; P < 0.001). Also, piglets receiving their supplement divided over 3 doses tended (P < 0.07) to lose more weight than pigs receiving their supplement in a single dose. Differences in lapsed time between birth and administration of the first dose of supplement were not detected and averaged 126 min. Similarly, differences in hematocrit or serum glucose were not detected. Serum protein was higher (P < 0.05) in pigs fed colostrum supplements than in pigs fed sow colostrum. Serum IgG tended (P < 0.10) to be higher in pigs fed sow colostrum (718 mg/dL) than in pigs fed the colostrum supplement formulas (663 mg/dL), but differences were not detected among colostrum supplements (P > 0.05). Apparent efficiency of IgG absorption was highest for sow colostrum followed by colostrum supplements B, A, and C (28.5, 27.6, 25.5, and 24.7%, respectively).
|One 30 mL dose
||Three 10 mL doses
|Variable||A||B||C||Sow colostrum||A||B||C||Sow colostrum||SEM||Formula||Dose||F × D1|
|Birth weight, g||1,287||1,273||1,273||1,342||1,358||1,259||1,183||1,329||68||0.357||0.812||0.706|
|12 h weight, g||1,257||1,231||1,240||1,277||1,308||1,205||1,149||1,250||65||0.516||0.615||0.758|
|Weight loss, g||30||42||33||64||50||53||34||79||9||0.001||0.076||0.789|
|Weight loss, % BW||2.1||3.4||2.3||4.9||3.3||3.9||3.0||5.8||0.6||0.001||0.064||0.956|
Delivery of either a single 30-mL or three10-mL doses supplied similar IgG intake as pooled sow colostrum resulting in similar serum IgG concentration and efficiency of absorption. Colostrum supplement B was similar in efficiency of absorption to sow colostrum had the greatest absorption. Colostrum supplements A and C were lower in efficiency of absorption than a single dose of sow colostrum, which may be influenced by differences of formulation of other dietary factors such as fat sources including dry fat and medium-chain triglycerides. Efficiency of absorption was similar to data reported by Bikker et al. (2010) with a single dose. Although the single and multiple dose regimes delivered comparable IgG into piglet circulation, the single dose yielded better piglet hydration (i.e., less BW loss), probably owning to the greater number of times pigs were offered water ad libitum. All piglets accepted their respective dose of either sow colostrum or colostrum supplement with minimal time to administer.
Collectively, all colostrum supplements were comparable in delivering absorbable IgG to the neonatal piglet and similar to sow colostrum. The efficiency of IgG absorption can be similar to sow colostrum depending upon formulation. In a practical environment, either dosing regimen could work, depending on labor availability.