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The effect of farrowing induction on colostrum and piglet serum immunocrits is dependent on parity

J. L. Vallet, J. R. Miles
Journal of animal science 2017 v.95 no.2 pp. 688-696
blood sampling, blood serum, cloprostenol, colostrum, dams (mothers), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, farrowing, fetal death, gestation period, gilts, immunoglobulin G, mortality, parity (reproduction), piglets, pregnancy, protein content, reproductive traits, sows
Farrowing induction is a common practice among swine producers to manage timing of farrowing and the labor associated with farrowing. In this experiment, the effect of induction of labor using cloprostenol on Day 114 of gestation (n = 88) was compared to our standard farrowing protocol at USMARC (natural farrowing with induction using cloprostenol on Day 116 if needed, n = 82) in gilts and sows up to fourth parity. In a subset of dams (n = 10 each treatment), colostrum was collected within 30 min of birth of the first piglet, and at 4, 8, 12, and 24 h. Colostrum samples were measured for immunoglobulin G (IgG) using the immunoglobulin immunocrit and porcine IgG specific ELISA, and for total protein. Blood samples were collected from each live piglet on d 1 of age and measured using the immunocrit assay, and average immunocrit was calculated for each litter. Total piglets born and born alive, birth and weaning weights, and the stillbirth rate and preweaning mortality rate were also recorded for each litter. Results indicated that induction of farrowing by cloprostenol treatment on d 114 reduced average gestation length by 0.5 to 1 d depending on parity (P < 0.05), and reduced overall colostrum immunocrit, IgG and total protein (P < 0.05). Colostrum immunocrits and IgG concentrations were well correlated (R = 0.89; P < 0.01) but IgG was curvilinearly related to total protein. Litter average immunocrits were similar in gilts between treatments, but were reduced in later parity sows induced to farrow using cloprostenol on d 114 of gestation. Total born, born alive, birth and weaning weights, and stillbirth and preweaning mortality rates were unaffected by treatments. In conclusion, induction of farrowing using cloprostenol injection on d 114 reduced colostrum IgG concentrations in dams, but this was reflected in a reduction in litter average immunocrit only in later parity sows. This reduction in litter average immunocrit was not sufficient to influence preweaning mortality, but other effects are possible given the reported influence of colostrum on growth and reproductive traits.