Increasing dietary electrolyte balance (dEB) has previously been shown to reduce the incidence of injured swine, improve meat quality, and reduce the incidence of gastric ulcers. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dEB under commercial conditions. Due to the variability in feed withdrawal, transport, and lairage conditions in the swine industry, it was necessary to determine first the persistence of blood changes during the marketing process after alteration of dEB. Sixteen pens of 8 crossbred barrows were assigned to a low (121 mEq/kg) or high (375 mEq/kg) dEB diet, calculated as Na+ + K+ − Cl−, to determine the persistence of blood changes associated with the alteration of dEB. Diets were formulated to meet or exceed NRC (1998) requirements for energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Dietary treatments were provided for ad libitum intake for 3 d before slaughter. Before transport, animals were fasted in the barn for approximately 10 h. After fasting, animals were shipped to the packing plant, rested for 8 h, and subsequently slaughtered. Initial and final BW of the animals were obtained. Blood was sampled at baseline (2 d before administration of diets), before feed withdrawal (0 h), after feed withdrawal (10 h), and at exsanguination (20 h).
Consumption of the high dEB diet for 3 d resulted in an increase in blood TCO2 (P = 0.001), HCO3 − (P = 0.001), and base excess (P = 0.0003) and a decrease in Cl− (P = 0.0002) and anion gap (P = 0.01). These differences, however, were not maintained for any of the blood components after the 10-h feed withdrawal (P > 0.22). Increasing dEB had no adverse effects (P > 0.18) on growth performance, meat quality, or carcass yield and did not decrease pars esophageal ulcer scores. This study demonstrated that the effect of dEB on blood components was not maintained after a 10-h feed withdrawal. Therefore, it is likely that the ability of the animal to withstand any increased metabolic acid load associated with the stress of transport was lost after feed withdrawal. Further research is needed to determine the effects of dEB alteration in animals that have not been fasted before shipment and using diets with a larger difference in dEB.
LN Edwards, TE Engle, MA Paradis, JA Correa, and DB Anderson, 2010. Journal of Animal Science, 88:4068?4077. http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas.2009-2139