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Impact of seasonal thermal stress on physiological and blood biochemical parameters in pigs under different dietary energy levels

Pathak, P. K., Roychoudhury, R., Saharia, J., Borah, M. C., Dutta, D. J., Bhuyan, R., Kalita, D.
Tropical animal health and production 2018 v.50 no.5 pp. 1025-1032
ambient temperature, biomarkers, blood chemistry, blood serum, body weight, cell respiration, cortisol, diet, energy, laboratory animals, metabolizable energy, piglets, purebreds, relative humidity, summer, swine feeding, thermal stress, triiodothyronine, vegetable oil, India
The present study was formulated to find out the status of important season related thermal stress biomarkers of pure-bred (Hampshire) and crossbred (50% Hampshire × 50% local) pigs under the agro-climatic condition of Assam State, India. The experiment was also aimed to study the role of different level of energy ration (110, 100, and 90% energy of NRC feeding standard for pig) in variation of physiological and biochemical parameters in two genetic groups of pigs in different seasons. The metabolizable energy value were 3260, 2936.5, and 3585.8 kcal/kg in grower ration and 3260.2, 2936.6, and 3587 kcal/kg in finisher ration for normal energy (NE), low energy (LE) and high energy (HE), respectively. Both the genetic group of animals were housed separately under intensive system of management. Each pen was measuring 10′ × 12′ along with an outer enclosure. Six weaned piglets (almost similar body weight of average 10.55 kg) of each group were kept in a separate pen. However, after attainment of 35 kg body weight, the animals of a group were divided in two pens of three animals each. The present experiment indicated that average ambient temperature during summer months (27.33–29.51 °C) was above the comfort zone for pigs (22 °C). The significantly (P < 0.01) higher relative humidity (RH) (%) was recorded in outdoor environment (87.26–91.10%) and in the morning time (86.60–91.10%). The temperature humidity index (THI) during the study period was found to be indicative of thermal stress to the experimental animals during summer (79.55–82.56). Physiological parameters viz., respiration rate (RR) and rectal temperature (RT) were significantly (P < 0.01) higher in summer season (43.75–72.12 breaths/min. and 102.29–103.23 °F) and non-significantly higher values were recorded in Hampshire pigs. It was also found that the significantly (P < 0.01) lower RR as well as RT was recorded in the pigs fed with high energy (HE) ration during summer season. Serum triiodothyronine (T₃) and thyroxine (T₄) concentrations were significantly (P < 0.01) lower during summer, while both the genetic groups showed significantly (P < 0.01) higher concentration of serum cortisol during summer season. It was also observed that thyroid hormone and cortisol concentrations were maintained in groups of pig fed vegetable oil incorporated HE diet during summer. From the present study, it is found that the increasing the energy level of the ration might be helpful to minimize the effects of thermal stress during summer.