Intra-partum asphyxia is the most common non-infectious etiology limiting the performance of neonate piglets. Previous studies indicate caffeine (orally and subcutaneously) reverses the effects of intra-partum asphyxia in neonate piglets. In this study, there was investigation of whether use of a novel therapeutic protocol for administering caffeine subcutaneously to pregnant sows would improve the newborn piglets’ vitality, physio-metabolic profiles and body weight gain. Sows were randomly divided into two groups (n = 10 each). Caffeine or NaCl 0.9% was administered 2 days pre-farrowing. Physio-metabolic profiles were measured using blood from the anterior vena cava. The vitality of piglets was evaluated immediately after birth. Piglets (n = 180) were weighed at birth and on days 7, 14 and 21 of lactation.
Caffeine positively affected the vitality of the piglets, as indicated by greater vitality scores than that for the control group (8.72 ± 0.12 compared with 7.28 ± 0.16). Metabolic values were similar between groups, but pO2 values were greater in the piglets with greater vitality scores treated with caffeine (19.10 ± 0.82 compared with 14.49 ± 1.42), indicating increased respiratory rates. Body weight gain at day 21 was greater in the piglets treated with caffeine that had greater vitality scores than the control piglets having greater vitality scores (6.87 ± 0.18 compared with 6.52 ± 0.25 kg). Caffeine administration before birth improves the vitality and respiratory capacity of piglets, increasing their adaptation to extra-uterine environment.
José A.Sánchez-Salcedo, Héctor Orozco-Gregorio, Miguel González-Lozano, Patricia Roldán-Santiago, Milagros González-Hernández, Gilberto Ballesteros-Rodea, Herlinda Bonilla-Jaime. Caffeine administered to pregnant sows improves piglet vitality, gas exchange and body weight gain. Animal Reproduction Science. Volume 208, September 2019, 106120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2019.106120