Risk factors for gastric ulceration in nursery pigs

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Pars oesophageal gastric ulceration is a prevalent condition in swine production and often observed in finisher pigs at slaughter, with reported prevalence ranging from 32 % to 65 %. Although feeding practices in nursery and finisher pigs are similar, little is known about the prevalence and risk factors associated with this condition in nursery pigs. This prospective cohort study aimed to identify risk factors for gastric ulceration in nursery pigs. The objectives were: (1) to estimate the association of inherent pig characteristics (birth weight, sex, parity of sow, litter size, and pen fouling behavior) and management characteristics (antibiotic treatment during suckling and post weaning, piglet rotation during lactation, weaning age and weight) with pars oesophageal lesions; (2) to assess differences in gastric dry matter content, pH, and percentage of solid particles in the sediment in relation to pars oesophageal lesions. A total of 58 piglets tracked from birth to 20 days of age and 210 nursery pigs from birth to 10 weeks of age were euthanized and assessed for pars oesophageal gastric lesions. All nursery pigs were fed finely ground pelleted feed ad libitum. Based on a macroscopic assessment, the pigs’ stomachs were categorized as either LPO “lesions in the Pars oesophagea” or NLPO “no lesions in the Pars oesophagea”. We observed an overall prevalence of 26.2 % (CI 95 % 0.67 – 0.79) for LPO in nursery pigs at 10 weeks of age, while no lesion were observed in piglets at 20 days of age. A mixed multivariable logistic regression model showed that piglets with a birthweight ≤ 1.11 kg had a 2.11 times higher odds of LPO (CI 95 % 1.02–4.37, p = 0.04) than their heavier counterparts. There was a weak association of LPO in nursery pigs from pens with pen fouling with a 2.14 times higher odds (CI 95 % 0.97–4.72 p = 0.05). Nursery pigs with LPO presented an increased gastric content fluidity with a reduced (p ≤ 0.01) gastric dry matter content (18.7 %), solid phase (74.7 %), and pH (3.22) compared to NLPO nursery pigs (20.5 %, 85.09 %, 3.56, respectively). We have demonstrated that LPO are present in nursery pigs as early as 10 weeks of age. We observed that low birth weight is associated with higher odds for LPO in nursery pigs. These observations might help explain differences between individual pigs in terms of LPO development when groups are exposed to similar environments, management, and feeding conditions.

TidsskriftPreventive Veterinary Medicine
StatusUdgivet - 2021

ID: 257873805