Reducing in-transit losses in swine by modification of electrolyte balance prior to transportation
Over the past 15 years the incidence of in-transit losses in swine during transportation to slaughter has tripled. These losses (non-ambulatory and dead animals) are associated with the rapid accumulation of lactic acid in blood and the development of metabolic acidosis in transport-stressed swine. Modification of dietary electrolyte balance prior to handling in a laboratory trial significantly reduced the number of non-ambulatory fatigued animals. In this trial, increasing dEB by 400 meq/kg feed did not affect lactic acid production during aggressive handling, but did improve buffering capacity in the treated animals, tempering the change in blood pH, resulting in protection against the stress. The current proposal will evaluate the effect of increased dEB on total in-transit losses under commercial conditions in approximately 90 truckloads of finisher swine. We predict that increasing dEB 4 days prior to transport will cut in-transit losses in half. If the commercial feeding test is effective, subsequent work will focus on development of a water soluble cation-rich electrolyte that can be administered in medicator systems in the finishing barn a few days prior to transportation to the packing plant.
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Anderson Associates LLC
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