Research Evaluates Benefits of Providing Dextrose Supplements to Low Birth Weight Low Viability Piglets

Oct 17, 2022

A veterinary student with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine has examined the effect of providing low birthweight piglets with dextrose supplements to give them an improved start in life.

A study conducted as part of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine Pharmhouse Summer Student Swine Experience Program examined the value of providing supplemental dextrose to low birthweight, low viability piglets born with low glycogen reserves.

Debby Peng, a second-year veterinary student at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says the hypothesis was that the supplements should increase the blood glucose of these piglets compared to piglets receiving a control, which was warm water, and give them a bit of a boost to seek the teat and increase feeding.

Clip-Debby Peng-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:

What we found was that there was a positive correlation between bigger piglets.They had higher rectal temperature and blood glucose at birth so they are already set up to get a head start with life versus piglets that are smaller.

We did find that there was no significance in gender distribution among the low weight and the intrauterine growth restricted piglets.Of most importance, we didn't find significance in our intervention.The blood glucose applied pre and post between the treated pigs did not create a difference nor was there a difference between the treated groups versus the control.

There is some question we have as to why that is.It might be due to a small sample size or because this is quite a low power study.Perhaps we didn't capture the glucose peak and that should still give us a little bit of boost at feeding though.

Perhaps we should adjust the dosage with the amount of glucose that we're supplying or perhaps glucose provided some satiety and that discourages feeding.

Peng says this study actually raised more questions than it answered and we don't yet know enough to say this works or that it doesn't work.

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