Colostrum yield and piglet growth during lactation are related to gilt metabolic and hepatic status prepartum.

Loisel, F., Farmer, C., Ramaekers, P., and Quesnel, H. (2014). "Colostrum yield and piglet growth during lactation are related to gilt metabolic and hepatic status prepartum.", Journal of Animal Science, 92(7), pp. 2931-2941. doi : 10.2527/jas.2013-7472  Access to full text


It was hypothesized that colostrum production could be influenced by sow peripartum endocrine, metabolic, and hepatic status. The plant extract silymarin was shown to influence endocrine and hepatic status in several species. The aims of the present study were to investigate the effects of silymarin intake during late pregnancy on sow hormonal and hepatic status and to determine whether relations exist between sow hepatic and metabolic status during the periparum period and colostrum yield and piglet performances during lactation. From d 107 of pregnancy until farrowing, nulliparous sows were either fed 12 g/d of silymarin (SIL, n = 15) or no treatment (Control, n = 12). Piglet BW was recorded directly after birth, 24 h after birth of the first piglet and at 7, 14 and 21 d of lactation. Blood samples were collected from sows on d 107 and 109 of pregnancy, daily from d 111 of pregnancy until d 2 of lactation, and on d 7 and 21 of lactation. They were assayed for endocrine, metabolic, and hepatic variables. Colostrum yield was estimated during 24 h starting at the onset of farrowing. Silymarin did not influence colostrum yield (3.7 ± 0.3 kg) and gross composition (P > 0.10), nor did it affect serum prolactin concentrations or plasma concentrations of progesterone, estradiol-17β, and cortisol (P > 0.10). Mean litter BW gain was lower (P < 0.05) during the first week and tended (P < 0.10) to be lower during the second week of lactation in litters from SIL sows. Silymarin had no effect on plasma concentrations of aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase, gamma-glutamyltransferase (γ-GT), alkaline phosphatase, and total cholesterol (P > 0.10). Colostrum yield was positively correlated with urea (r = 0.50; P = 0.01) and creatinine (r = 0.43; P = 0.03) concentrations in sows on the day before farrowing. Mean litter BW gain during 2 wks was negatively correlated with concentrations of beta-hydroxy-butyric acid (r = -0.50; P = 0.01) and γ-GT (r = -0.42; P = 0.03) on the day before farrowing and was positively correlated with urea concentrations on the day before farrowing (r = 0.54; P = 0.01). In conclusion, at the dose of 12 g/d, silymarin did not influence prolactin concentrations or the hepatic status of sows, had no impact on colostrum production and decreased litter BW gain in early lactation. Colostrum yield and litter performance during lactation were correlated with some markers of sow metabolic and hepatic status measured during the prepartum period.

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