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Effect of feed withdrawal prior to slaughter on prevalence of gastric ulcers in pigs

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  • 1 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.
  • | 2 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.
  • | 3 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.
  • | 4 Department of Food Animal and Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606-8401.
  • | 5 Present address is EpiCentre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
  • | 6 Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether withdrawing feed from pigs prior to slaughter had any effects on prevalence or severity of gastric ulcers.

Design—Split-plot design.

Animals—873 pigs.

Procedures—At the finishing barn, pigs were assigned to 30 pens. Feed withdrawal times (0, 12, or 24 hours) were assigned to pens at random, and pigs in each pen were marketed in 3 groups over a period of 4 weeks. The first marketing group consisted of the 10 heaviest pigs in each pen, the second consisted of the next 10 heaviest, and the third consisted of all remaining pigs. Feed was withheld from all pigs in each pen prior to removal of each marketing group. Thus, feed was withheld once, twice, or 3 times for pigs in the first, second, and third marketing groups, respectively.

Results—Feed withdrawal time was not significantly associated with ulcer score at the time of slaughter. Ulcer scores and prevalence of chronic damage were higher in the third marketing group, regardless of feed withdrawal time. Prevalence of severe damage, prevalence of chronic damage, and prevalence of esophageal constriction increased as carcass weight decreased. No pigs died of gastric ulceration.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that withdrawal of feed from pigs prior to slaughter does not increase damage to the stomach and that repeated feed withdrawal does not result in fatal gastric ulceration. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:503–506)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether withdrawing feed from pigs prior to slaughter had any effects on prevalence or severity of gastric ulcers.

Design—Split-plot design.

Animals—873 pigs.

Procedures—At the finishing barn, pigs were assigned to 30 pens. Feed withdrawal times (0, 12, or 24 hours) were assigned to pens at random, and pigs in each pen were marketed in 3 groups over a period of 4 weeks. The first marketing group consisted of the 10 heaviest pigs in each pen, the second consisted of the next 10 heaviest, and the third consisted of all remaining pigs. Feed was withheld from all pigs in each pen prior to removal of each marketing group. Thus, feed was withheld once, twice, or 3 times for pigs in the first, second, and third marketing groups, respectively.

Results—Feed withdrawal time was not significantly associated with ulcer score at the time of slaughter. Ulcer scores and prevalence of chronic damage were higher in the third marketing group, regardless of feed withdrawal time. Prevalence of severe damage, prevalence of chronic damage, and prevalence of esophageal constriction increased as carcass weight decreased. No pigs died of gastric ulceration.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that withdrawal of feed from pigs prior to slaughter does not increase damage to the stomach and that repeated feed withdrawal does not result in fatal gastric ulceration. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:503–506)