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J Anim Sci. 2012 Jul;90(7):2331-6. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4661. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

Post-farrowing stress management in sows by administration of azaperone: effects on piglets performance.

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Institute for the Reproduction of Farm Animals Schoenow e. V. (IFN), 16321 Bernau, Germany.


This study examined the impact of a single dose of azaperone administered to sows at the end of farrowing on piglet weight gain and mortality during the lactation period. Two hundred fifty-two sows (JSR hybrid) housed in a conventional farrowing crate system were assigned to either a treatment or a control group. The parities of the sow were between 1 and 6. The differences between live birth weight and weight at weaning were recorded for 3,093 individual piglets. Serum concentrations of IgG of 485 piglets also were recorded during tail docking. Median and interquartile range (IQR) were 5.1 (2.9 to 9.5) mg·mL(-1) in the control group and 5.6 (3.1 to 12.1) mg·mL(-1) in the azaperone group (P > 0.05). Litter size was 13.0 (11 to 15) total born piglets and birth weight was 1.28 (1.05 to 1.52) kg. Weaning weight for the control group was 5.64 (4.73 to 6.54) kg compared with 5.78 (4.79 to 6.71) kg for the azaperone treated group (P = 0.005). Daily BW gain differed significantly (P = 0.001) between the 2 groups, 205 g for the controls, compared with 214 g for the azaperone group. There were no significant differences between piglet mortality rates (17% and 20%). Azaperone applications to sows tended to have a positive effect on productivity. Effect was greatest in the primiparous sows and declined with increasing parity. This may have been due to both physiological and behavioral differences between the sows as they experienced increasing numbers of gestations, farrowings, and lactation periods.

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