Open AccessArticle
Effects of the Truck Suspension System on Animal Welfare, Carcass and Meat Quality Traits in Pigs
Animals 2017, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/ani7010005 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the effects of two types of commercial suspension (leaf-spring (LS) vs. air suspension (AS)) installed on two similar double-decked trucks on blood cortisol and lactate concentration, lairage behavior, carcass skin lesions and pork quality traits
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The objective of this study was to assess the effects of two types of commercial suspension (leaf-spring (LS) vs. air suspension (AS)) installed on two similar double-decked trucks on blood cortisol and lactate concentration, lairage behavior, carcass skin lesions and pork quality traits of 120 crossbred pigs. The suspension type neither influenced pig behaviour in lairage nor blood cortisol and lactate concentrations (p > 0.10). However, when compared with the AS suspension system, the use of LS increased the number of skin lesions in the back and thigh (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01, respectively) and produced thigh with lower pHu (p < 0.001) and yellower colour (higher b* value; p = 0.03), and paler back muscles (subjective colour; p < 0.05), with a tendency to lower pH (p = 0.06). Therefore, the use air suspension system can improve carcass and meat quality traits of pigs transported to slaughter. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Whip Rule Breaches in a Major Australian Racing Jurisdiction: Welfare and Regulatory Implications
Animals 2017, 7(1), 4; doi:10.3390/ani7010004 -
Abstract
Whip use in horseracing is increasingly being questioned on ethical, animal welfare, social sustainability, and legal grounds. Despite this, there is weak evidence for whip use and its regulation by Stewards in Australia. To help address this, we characterised whip rule breaches recorded
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Whip use in horseracing is increasingly being questioned on ethical, animal welfare, social sustainability, and legal grounds. Despite this, there is weak evidence for whip use and its regulation by Stewards in Australia. To help address this, we characterised whip rule breaches recorded by Stewards using Stewards Reports and Race Diaries from 2013 and 2016 in New SouthWales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). There were more recorded breaches at Metropolitan (M) than Country (C) or Provincial (P) locations, and by riders of horses that finished first, second, or third than by riders of horses that finished in other positions. The most commonly recorded breaches were forehand whip use on more than five occasions before the 100-metre (m) mark (44%), and whip use that raises the jockey’s arm above shoulder height (24%). It is recommended that racing compliance data be analysed annually to inform the evidence-base for policy, education, and regulatory change, and ensure the welfare of racehorses and racing integrity. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2016
Animals 2017, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/ani7010003 -
Abstract The editors of Animals would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Fencing Large Predator-Free and Competitor-Free Landscapes for the Recovery of Woodland Caribou in Western Alberta: An Ineffective Conservation Option
Animals 2017, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/ani7010002 -
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Open AccessArticle
Housing of Cull Sows in the Hours before Transport to the Abattoir—An Initial Description of Sow Behaviour While Waiting in a Transfer Vehicle
Animals 2017, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/ani7010001 -
Abstract
In modern pig production, sows are transported by road to abattoirs. For reasons of biosecurity, commercial trucks may have limited access to farms. According to Danish regulations, sows can be kept in stationary transfer vehicles away from the farm for up to two
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In modern pig production, sows are transported by road to abattoirs. For reasons of biosecurity, commercial trucks may have limited access to farms. According to Danish regulations, sows can be kept in stationary transfer vehicles away from the farm for up to two hours before being loaded onto the commercial truck. We aimed to describe the behaviour of sows in transfer vehicles. This preliminary, exploratory study included data from 11 loads from a total of six Danish sow herds. Selection of animals to be slaughtered was done by the farmers. Clinical registrations were made before collection of the sows, after which they (in groups of 7–13) were mixed and moved to the transfer vehicle (median stocking density: 1.2 sow/m2), and driven a short distance to a public road. The duration of the stays in the transfer vehicles before being loaded onto the commercial trucks ranged from 6–59 min. During this period, the median frequency of aggressive interactions per load was 18 (range: 4–65), whereas the median frequency of lying per load was 1 (range: 0–23). The duration of the stay correlated positively with the frequency of aggressive interactions (rs = 0.89; n = 11; p < 0.001) and with the frequency of lying (rs = 0.62; n = 11; p < 0.05). Frequency of aggressive interactions correlated positively with the temperature inside the transfer vehicle (rs = 0.89; n = 7; p < 0.001). These preliminary results are the first to describe the behaviour of cull sows during waiting in transfer vehicles, and may suggest that this period can be challenging for sow welfare, especially for longer stays and during hot days.Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Lupinus albus and Calcium Chloride on Growth Performance, Body Composition, Plasma Biochemistry and Meat Quality of Male Pigs Immunized Against Gonadotrophin Releasing Factor
Animals 2016, 6(12), 78; doi:10.3390/ani6120078 -
Abstract
Two hundred and ninety-four pigs were used to assess the effect of two ingredients (Lupinus albus (albus lupins) or a combination of calcium chloride and sodium tri-polyphosphate (mineral salts)) on growth performance, body composition and objective meat quality of pigs immunized against
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Two hundred and ninety-four pigs were used to assess the effect of two ingredients (Lupinus albus (albus lupins) or a combination of calcium chloride and sodium tri-polyphosphate (mineral salts)) on growth performance, body composition and objective meat quality of pigs immunized against gonadotrophin releasing factor (immunocastrates) and entire male pigs in the late finishing phase. Pigs fed mineral salts ate less feed than those fed the control diet with no effect on growth rate (p > 0.05), backfat (p > 0.05) or fat deposition (p > 0.05). Pigs fed albus lupins had a reduced feed intake (p < 0.001 for all time periods), lower growth rate (p < 0.001 for all time periods), lower backfat (p < 0.005) and decreased fat deposition (p < 0.001 for all time periods) compared to those fed the control diet or mineral salts. From day (d) 0–28 pigs fed mineral salts had a better feed conversion ratio (p = 0.001) than those fed albus lupins who in turn had an improved feed conversion compared to the control diet. Immunocastrates had thicker backfat than entire males at the end of the experiment (p < 0.001), however, feeding albus lupins to immunocastrated males reduced backfat thickness to similar to entire males fed the control diet (p = 0.01). With the exception of the increased muscle pH at 45 minutes post-exsanguination in mineral salts and albus lupins compared with the control diet (p = 0.03) there was no effect of diet on objective pork quality. Pork from IC males had a higher ultimate pH (p < 0.001), was lighter (L*; p = 0.003), more yellow (p = 0.008) and had a higher drip loss (p < 0.001) compared to entire males. Albus lupins show potential in reducing the increase in feed intake and backfat associated with immunocastration. Mineral salts may be useful in situations where a reduction in feed intake and an improvement in feed conversion is desired and reducing fat deposition is not the objective. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary
Transport Fitness of Cull Sows and Boars: A Comparison of Different Guidelines on Fitness for Transport
Animals 2016, 6(12), 77; doi:10.3390/ani6120077 -
Open AccessBook Review
The Welfare of Performing Animals. A Historical Perspective. By David A. H. Wilson. Springer: Berlin, Germany, 2015; 278 pp; $189.00; ISBN 978-3-662-50931-9
Animals 2016, 6(11), 76; doi:10.3390/ani6110076 -
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
What We Know about the Public’s Level of Concern for Farm Animal Welfare in Food Production in Developed Countries
Animals 2016, 6(11), 74; doi:10.3390/ani6110074 -
Abstract
Population growth and rising consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish are forcing the world to face the intersecting challenges of how to sustainably feed a population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, while also controlling the impact of food production on
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Population growth and rising consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish are forcing the world to face the intersecting challenges of how to sustainably feed a population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, while also controlling the impact of food production on the planet, on people and on animals. This review acknowledges the absence of a globally accepted definition of animal welfare and then explores the literature regarding different levels of concern for animal welfare in food production by such stakeholders as veterinarians, farmers, and the general public. It focuses on the evidence that the general public’s level of concern for animal welfare is linked to various demographic and personal characteristics, such as age, gender, religion, location, meat eating, and knowledge of animal welfare. Certain animals have characteristics that influence concern for their welfare, with those species that are considered more intelligent being afforded more concern. There is compelling evidence that the general public’s understanding of animal welfare in food production is poor. Acknowledging that public concern can be a driving force to change current production methods, the authors suggest widespread consciousness raising to redefine socially acceptable methods of food production from animals and to ensure that it remains in step with societal concerns. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Selection of Breeding Stock among Australian Purebred Dog Breeders, with Particular Emphasis on the Dam
Animals 2016, 6(11), 75; doi:10.3390/ani6110075 -
Abstract
Every year, thousands of purebred domestic dogs are bred by registered dog breeders. Yet, little is known about the rearing environment of these dogs, or the attitudes and priorities surrounding breeding practices of these dog breeders. The objective of this study was to
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Every year, thousands of purebred domestic dogs are bred by registered dog breeders. Yet, little is known about the rearing environment of these dogs, or the attitudes and priorities surrounding breeding practices of these dog breeders. The objective of this study was to explore some of the factors that dog breeders consider important for stock selection, with a particular emphasis on issues relating to the dam. Two-hundred and seventy-four Australian purebred dog breeders, covering 91 breeds across all Australian National Kennel Club breed groups, completed an online survey relating to breeding practices. Most breeders surveyed (76%) reported specialising in one breed of dog, the median number of dogs and bitches per breeder was two and three respectively, and most breeders bred two litters or less a year. We identified four components, relating to the dam, that were considered important to breeders. These were defined as Maternal Care, Offspring Potential, Dam Temperament, and Dam Genetics and Health. Overall, differences were observed in attitudes and beliefs across these components, showing that there is variation according to breed/breed groups. In particular, the importance of Maternal Care varied according to dog breed group. Breeders of brachycephalic breeds tended to differ the most in relation to Offspring Potential and Dam Genetics and Health. The number of breeding dogs/bitches influenced breeding priority, especially in relation to Dam Temperament, however no effect was found relating to the number of puppies bred each year. Only 24% of breeders used their own sire for breeding. The finding that some breeders did not test for diseases relevant to their breed, such as hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, provides important information on the need to educate some breeders, and also buyers of purebred puppies, that screening for significant diseases should occur. Further research into the selection of breeding dams and sires will inform future strategies to improve the health and behaviour of our best friend. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relationship Between Scarring and Dog Aggression in Pit Bull-Type Dogs Involved in Organized Dogfighting
Animals 2016, 6(11), 72; doi:10.3390/ani6110072 -
Abstract
When pit bull-type dogs are seized in an investigation of organized dogfighting, heavily scarred dogs are often assumed to be highly dog aggressive due to a history of fighting. These dogs may be deemed dangerous and euthanized based on scarring alone. We analyzed
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When pit bull-type dogs are seized in an investigation of organized dogfighting, heavily scarred dogs are often assumed to be highly dog aggressive due to a history of fighting. These dogs may be deemed dangerous and euthanized based on scarring alone. We analyzed our existing data on dogs seized from four dogfighting investigations, examining the relationship between the dogs’ scars with aggression towards other dogs. Scar and wound data were tallied in three body zones where dogfighting injuries tend to be concentrated. Dog aggression was assessed using a model dog and a friendly stimulus dog in a standardized behavior evaluation. Scarring and dog aggression were significantly related, more strongly among male (Fisher’s Exact p < 0.001) than female dogs (Fisher’s Exact p = 0.05). Ten or more scars in the three body zones was a reasonable threshold with which to classify a dog as high risk for dog aggression: 82% of males and 60% of females with such scarring displayed dog aggression. However, because many unscarred dogs were dog aggressive while some highly scarred dogs were not, we recommend collecting behavioral information to supplement scar counts when making disposition decisions about dogs seized in dogfighting investigations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus)
Animals 2016, 6(11), 73; doi:10.3390/ani6110073 -
Abstract
Recent studies have highlighted a high prevalence of dental disease in domestic guinea pigs, yet the aetiology of this multi-factorial disease is still unclear. Factors that have been associated with dental disease include feeding a diet that is high in energy but low
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Recent studies have highlighted a high prevalence of dental disease in domestic guinea pigs, yet the aetiology of this multi-factorial disease is still unclear. Factors that have been associated with dental disease include feeding a diet that is high in energy but low in fibre, feeding an insufficiently abrasive diet, a lack of dietary calcium, and genetics. As many of these factors relate to the husbandry requirements of guinea pigs, owner awareness of dietary requirements is of the utmost importance. An online questionnaire was created based on previous research into the husbandry and feeding of rabbits. Guinea pig owners were asked to answer questions on the clinical history of their animals and their diet and management. In total, 150 surveys were completed for 344 guinea pigs, where owners of multiple animals could complete the survey for individuals. According to the owners, 6.7% of guinea pigs had been clinically diagnosed with dental disease, but 16.6% had signs consistent with dental disease. The specific clinical signs of having difficulty eating (Exp(B) = 33.927, Nagelkerke R 2 = 0.301, p < 0.05) and producing fewer or smaller faecal droppings (Exp(B) = 13.733, Nagelkerke R 2 = 0.149, p < 0.05) were predictive for the presence of dental disease. Having access to an outside environment, including the use of runs on both concrete and grass, was significantly related to not displaying clinical signs of dental disease (Exp(B) = 1.894, Nagelkerke R 2 = 0.021, p < 0.05). There was no significant relationship between owner knowledge, guinea pig diet, and dental disease in the study population. This study highlights the importance of access to the outdoors for the health and welfare of guinea pigs in addition to the need for owners to be alert to key clinical signs. A relationship between diet and dental disease was not identified in this study; however, the underlying aetiological causes of this condition require further investigation. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Challenges of Using Horses for Practical Teaching Purposes in Veterinary Programmes
Animals 2016, 6(11), 69; doi:10.3390/ani6110069 -
Abstract
Students enrolled in veterinary degrees often come from an urban background with little previous experience in handling horses and other large animals. Many veterinary degree programmes place importance on the teaching of appropriate equine handling skills, yet within the literature it is commonly
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Students enrolled in veterinary degrees often come from an urban background with little previous experience in handling horses and other large animals. Many veterinary degree programmes place importance on the teaching of appropriate equine handling skills, yet within the literature it is commonly reported that time allocated for practical classes often suffers due to time constraint pressure from other elements of the curriculum. The effect of this pressure on animal handling teaching time is reflected in the self-reported low level of animal handling competency, particularly equine, in students with limited prior experience with horses. This is a concern as a naive student is potentially at higher risk of injury to themselves when interacting with horses. Additionally, a naive student with limited understanding of equine behaviour may, through inconsistent or improper handling, increase the anxiety and compromise the welfare of these horses. There is a lack of literature investigating the welfare of horses in university teaching facilities, appropriate handling procedures, and student safety. This article focuses on the importance for students to be able to interpret equine behaviour and the potential consequences of poor handling skills to equine and student welfare. Lastly, the authors suggest a conceptual model to optimise equine welfare, and subsequently student safety, during practical equine handling classes. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Good Science, Good Sense and Good Sensibilities: The Three Ss of Carol Newton
Animals 2016, 6(11), 70; doi:10.3390/ani6110070 -
Abstract
The Three Rs principle of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement developed by William M. S. Russell and Rex L. Burch in the 1950s has achieved worldwide recognition as a means of reducing the impact of science on animals and improving their welfare. However, application
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The Three Rs principle of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement developed by William M. S. Russell and Rex L. Burch in the 1950s has achieved worldwide recognition as a means of reducing the impact of science on animals and improving their welfare. However, application of the Three Rs is still far from universal, and evidence-based methods to implement the Three Rs are still lacking in many areas of laboratory animal science. The purpose of this paper is to create interest in a less well-known but equally useful principle that complements the Three Rs, which was proposed by the American biomathematician Carol M. Newton in the 1970s: the Three Ss—Good Science, Good Sense and Good Sensibilities. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Research Tools for the Measurement of Pain and Nociception
Animals 2016, 6(11), 71; doi:10.3390/ani6110071 -
Abstract
There are many ways in which pain in animals can be measured and these are based on a variety of phenomena that are related to either the perception of pain or alterations in physical or behavioural features of the animal that are caused
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There are many ways in which pain in animals can be measured and these are based on a variety of phenomena that are related to either the perception of pain or alterations in physical or behavioural features of the animal that are caused by that pain. The features of pain that are most useful for assessment in clinical environments are not always the best to use in a research environment. This is because the aims and objectives of the two settings are different and so whilst particular techniques will have the same advantages and disadvantages in clinical and research environments, these considerations may become more or less of a drawback when moving from one environment to the other. For example, a simple descriptive pain scale has a number of advantages and disadvantages. In a clinical setting the advantages are very useful and the disadvantages are less relevant, but in a research environment the advantages are less important and the disadvantages can become more problematic. This paper will focus on pain in the research environment and after a brief revision of the pathophysiological systems involved will attempt to outline the major advantages and disadvantages of the more commonly used measurement techniques that have been used for studies in the area of pain perception and analgesia. This paper is expanded from a conference proceedings paper presented at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Conference in San Diego, USA. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Owners’ Perceptions of Their Animal’s Behavioural Response to the Loss of an Animal Companion
Animals 2016, 6(11), 68; doi:10.3390/ani6110068 -
Abstract
The loss of a companion animal is recognised as being associated with experiences of grief by the owner, but it is unclear how other animals in the household may be affected by such a loss. Our aim was to investigate companion animals’ behavioural
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The loss of a companion animal is recognised as being associated with experiences of grief by the owner, but it is unclear how other animals in the household may be affected by such a loss. Our aim was to investigate companion animals’ behavioural responses to the loss of a companion through owner-report. A questionnaire was distributed via, and advertised within, publications produced by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) across Australia and New Zealand, and through a selection of veterinary clinics within New Zealand. A total of 279 viable surveys were returned pertaining to 159 dogs and 152 cats. The two most common classes of behavioural changes reported for both dogs and cats were affectionate behaviours (74% of dogs and 78% of cats) and territorial behaviours (60% of dogs and 63% of cats). Both dogs and cats were reported to demand more attention from their owners and/or display affiliative behaviour, as well as spend time seeking out the deceased’s favourite spot. Dogs were reported to reduce the volume (35%) and speed (31%) of food consumption and increase the amount of time spent sleeping (34%). Cats were reported to increase the frequency (43%) and volume (32%) of vocalisations following the death of a companion. The median duration of reported behavioural changes in both species was less than 6 months. There was consensus that the behaviour of companion animals changed in response to the loss of an animal companion. These behavioural changes suggest the loss had an impact on the remaining animal. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Online Chats to Assess Stakeholder Perceptions of Meat Chicken Intensification and Welfare
Animals 2016, 6(11), 67; doi:10.3390/ani6110067 -
Abstract
Evidence suggests that there is variation in support for specific chicken farming practices amongst stakeholder groups, and this should be explored in more detail to understand the nature of these differences and work towards convergence. Online focus groups were used to assess attitudes
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Evidence suggests that there is variation in support for specific chicken farming practices amongst stakeholder groups, and this should be explored in more detail to understand the nature of these differences and work towards convergence. Online focus groups were used to assess attitudes to animal welfare in meat chicken farming in this pilot study. Across six online chats, 25 participants (general public, n = 8; animal advocacy group, n = 11, meat chicken industry, n = 3; research or veterinary practice who had experience with poultry but no declared industry affiliation, n = 3) discussed meat chicken intensification and welfare. Of those, 21 participants completed pre- and post-chat surveys gauging perceptions and objective knowledge about meat chicken management. Main reasons for intensification support were perceptions of improved bird health, and perceptions that it is a cost-effective, sustainable farming system. Reasons for opposition included perceptions that a large number of birds kept are in close proximity and have limited ability to perform natural behaviours. Misunderstandings about current practices were clarified in chats which contained industry representation. Participants agreed on the need for enforceable standards and industry transparency. Industry-affiliated members rated welfare of meat chickens higher, and gave lower ratings for the importance of natural living, than other stakeholder groups (both p = 0.001). On average, while objective knowledge of intensification increased after chat participation (p = 0.03), general welfare ratings and support for intensification did not change over time, counter to assertions that lack of knowledge results in lack of support for some practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Horse Injury during Non-Commercial Transport: Findings from Researcher-Assisted Intercept Surveys at Southeastern Australian Equestrian Events
Animals 2016, 6(11), 65; doi:10.3390/ani6110065 -
Abstract
Equine transportation research has largely focused on the commercial land movement of horses. Data on the incidence and factors associated with horse injuries during non-commercial transportation (privately owned horse trucks and trailers) is scant. This study surveyed 223 drivers transporting horses to 12
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Equine transportation research has largely focused on the commercial land movement of horses. Data on the incidence and factors associated with horse injuries during non-commercial transportation (privately owned horse trucks and trailers) is scant. This study surveyed 223 drivers transporting horses to 12 equestrian events in southeastern Australia. Data collected encompassed driver demographics, travel practice, vehicle characteristics, and incidents involving horse injury. Approximately 25% (55/223) of participants reported that their horses were injured during transportation. Of these 72% were owner classified as horse associated (scrambling, slipping and horse-horse interaction), 11% due to mechanical failure, and 6% due to driver error. Horse injury was not significantly associated with driver age, gender, or experience. Participants that answer the telephone whilst driving were more likely to have previously had a horse injured ( p = 0.04). There was a trend for participants with <8 hours sleep prior to the survey to have experienced a previous transportation-related injury ( p = 0.056). Increased trailer age was associated with a greater number of injury reports (r² = 0.20; p < 0.04). The diversity in trailer models prevented identification of the importance of individual design features. This study highlights the potential for horses to sustain transportation injuries in privately owned vehicles and warrants further study to address this risk to their welfare. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
The Effect of Pet Remedy on the Behaviour of the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris)
Animals 2016, 6(11), 64; doi:10.3390/ani6110064 -
Abstract
Stress-affected behaviour in companion animals can have an adverse effect on animal health and welfare and their relationships with humans. This stress can be addressed using chemical treatments, often in conjunction with behavioural therapies. Here, we investigated the efficacy of one commercial pharmacological
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Stress-affected behaviour in companion animals can have an adverse effect on animal health and welfare and their relationships with humans. This stress can be addressed using chemical treatments, often in conjunction with behavioural therapies. Here, we investigated the efficacy of one commercial pharmacological intervention, Pet Remedy, advertised as a natural stress relief product for mammals. We aimed to see whether the product lowered stress-affected behaviour in dogs placed in a non-familiar environment. Behavioural responses of 28 dogs were video recorded using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and counterbalanced repeated measures design. Dogs were exposed to both a placebo and Pet Remedy plug-in diffuser for 30 min with an intervening period of approximately 7 days between conditions. Multivariate regression analysis identified no significant differences in behaviour in either the Pet Remedy or placebo condition. In conclusion, in the current study, Pet Remedy did not reduce behavioural indicators indicative of a stress response. To determine the effects of Pet Remedy, future research using a larger sample size and controlling for breed would be beneficial. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intermittent Suckling in Combination with an Older Weaning Age Improves Growth, Feed Intake and Aspects of Gastrointestinal Tract Carbohydrate Absorption in Pigs after Weaning
Animals 2016, 6(11), 66; doi:10.3390/ani6110066 -
Abstract
This study tested the hypothesis that intermittent suckling (IS) with or without an older weaning age would improve post-weaning gastrointestinal tract (GIT) carbohydrate absorptive capacity in pigs while reducing post-weaning stress and aspects of the inflammatory response. Three weaning regimes using primiparous sows
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This study tested the hypothesis that intermittent suckling (IS) with or without an older weaning age would improve post-weaning gastrointestinal tract (GIT) carbohydrate absorptive capacity in pigs while reducing post-weaning stress and aspects of the inflammatory response. Three weaning regimes using primiparous sows were compared: (1) conventional weaning (CW28) ( n = 22), where piglets were weaned conventionally at day 28; (2) IS28 ( n = 21), where IS started at day 21 until weaning at day 28; and (3) IS35 ( n = 21), where IS started at day 28 until weaning at day 35. Sugar absorption tests (10% mannitol or 10% galactose) were used to measure GIT absorptive capacity. All measured parameters were compared in relation to weaning across treatments (i.e., different physiological ages were compared). The IS35 pigs grew fastest in the 12 days after weaning ( p < 0.01) and had the highest solid feed intake before and after weaning ( p < 0.05). Irrespective of treatment, pre-weaning mannitol levels were higher than post-weaning levels ( p < 0.01), whereas post-weaning galactose levels were highest in IS35 pigs ( p < 0.01). Cytokine data did not show any treatment effects. In conclusion, these data suggest that IS in combination with an older weaning age (day 35) improved post-weaning adaptation as evidenced by improvements in performance measures and galactose absorption. However, IS28 did not improve post-weaning performance. Full article
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