Effects of Spray-Dried Porcine Plasma (SDPP) Administered as an Oral Gavage on Indicators of Health, Welfare, and Performance in Pigs Transported After Weaning
Transportation of swine is an emerging welfare issue, especially for piglets weaned and then immediately transported. Weaned pigs fed starter diets containing SDPP display improved growth performance. The objective of this study was to determine effects of pre-weaning SDPP on indicators of health, welfare, and performance in transported weaned pigs. Pigs were assigned to treatments: I. SDPP + transport, II. Water + transport, III. SDPP + no transport, or IV. Water + no transport. Pigs received their gavage twice daily for 5 d prior to weaning. Pigs were weaned and either transported or moved directly to the wean-to-finish barn. Rectal temperatures and blood samples were obtained at weaning and after relocation. Body weight was determined on d 1, at weaning, after relocation, and at weekly intervals for 5 wk thereafter. Blood chemistry profiles and serum cortisol concentrations were also determined. Rectal temperature and potassium increased and calcium decreased after groups I and II were transported. Glucose was lowest in group II. Total protein was greater in group I compared to group III. Albumin was greatest in group I compared to all other groups. Sodium was greatest in group II compared to all other groups. Anion gap was greatest in group II compared to group IV. Cortisol, phosphorus, gamma-glutamyltransferase, and chloride, were greater in groups I and II after transportation. In summary, transportation impacted several physiological indicators of health and well-being in weaned pigs, and providing SDPP prior to weaning prevented transportation-induced changes in sodium, glucose, and anion gap levels.