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Effect of oxytocin treatment in sows on umbilical cord morphology, meconium staining, and neonatal mortality of piglets

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  • 1 Departamento de Producción Agrícola y Animal, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, México.
  • | 2 División de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigación, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, México.
  • | 3 Departamento de Cerdos, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.
  • | 4 Departamento de Producción Agrícola y Animal, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, México.
  • | 5 Departamento de Producción Agrícola y Animal, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, México.
  • | 6 Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada C1A 4P3.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of 2 oxytocin products administered to sows at the onset of fetal expulsion on the integrity of umbilical cords, meconium staining, and piglet mortality.

Animals—2099 neonatal pigs.

Procedure—180 parturient sows were randomly assigned to 3 stratified groups of 60 sows each. Two groups of sows were injected IM at the onset of fetal expulsion with 1 of 2 oxytocin commercial products (20, 40, or 50 U for sows weighing 120 to 150 kg, 151 to 250 kg, or ≥ 251 kg, respectively). Control sows were treated IM with saline (0.9% NaCl) solution. Farrowing time, expulsion intervals, and numbers of stillborn and liveborn piglets were recorded for each sow. Piglets were evaluated for inspiratory effort, heart rates, and degree of meconium staining of skin (nonstained, and moderately or severely stained). Umbilical cords were classified as normal in appearance, edematous, congested, hemorrhagic, or ruptured.

Results—Oxytocin-treated sows had a significant decrease in farrowing time and expulsion intervals and also had a significantly higher number of stillborn piglets per litter, compared with control sows. The number of piglets per litter with ruptured and hemorrhagic umbilical cords was significantly greater in oxytocin- treated sows, compared with control sows. In near-death stillborn piglets, oxytocin treatment significantly decreased inspiratory efforts at birth and increased the rate and severity of meconium staining, compared with saline treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Oxytocin given to sows at the onset of fetal expulsion significantly increases the rate of fetal distress, anoxia, and intrapartum death in piglets. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:1571–1574)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of 2 oxytocin products administered to sows at the onset of fetal expulsion on the integrity of umbilical cords, meconium staining, and piglet mortality.

Animals—2099 neonatal pigs.

Procedure—180 parturient sows were randomly assigned to 3 stratified groups of 60 sows each. Two groups of sows were injected IM at the onset of fetal expulsion with 1 of 2 oxytocin commercial products (20, 40, or 50 U for sows weighing 120 to 150 kg, 151 to 250 kg, or ≥ 251 kg, respectively). Control sows were treated IM with saline (0.9% NaCl) solution. Farrowing time, expulsion intervals, and numbers of stillborn and liveborn piglets were recorded for each sow. Piglets were evaluated for inspiratory effort, heart rates, and degree of meconium staining of skin (nonstained, and moderately or severely stained). Umbilical cords were classified as normal in appearance, edematous, congested, hemorrhagic, or ruptured.

Results—Oxytocin-treated sows had a significant decrease in farrowing time and expulsion intervals and also had a significantly higher number of stillborn piglets per litter, compared with control sows. The number of piglets per litter with ruptured and hemorrhagic umbilical cords was significantly greater in oxytocin- treated sows, compared with control sows. In near-death stillborn piglets, oxytocin treatment significantly decreased inspiratory efforts at birth and increased the rate and severity of meconium staining, compared with saline treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Oxytocin given to sows at the onset of fetal expulsion significantly increases the rate of fetal distress, anoxia, and intrapartum death in piglets. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:1571–1574)