Supporting Pigs Through Heat Stress

July 22, 2021, 10:15 am

Pigs are a particularly vulnerable to heat stress as a species because they have a limited ability to cool themselves down and therefore, they rely on other mechanisms. This is why pigs will cover themselves in mud, because as the mud dries evaporative cooling occurs. However, in modern pig production, mud is generally scarce.

In extremely warm weather conditions, pigs can suffer from heat stress, which has a negative effect on feed intake and feed efficiency. Heat stress also reduces the blood flow to the enterocytes (intestinal cells) and will damage the intestinal barrier. Intestinal damage can cause stress diarrhoea as well as other issues.

How we can support pigs suffering from heat stress:

Make sure waterers and water pressure are running at full capacity.

It is important the pigs have sufficient access to cool water, to allow for evaporative heat loss from respiration.

Newly weaned pigs are already stressed but adding Tonisity PxW to the water will encourage them to drink more water and supports their enterocytes.

Mud might not be available in your farm, but a water sprinkler and drip coolers can provide efficient cooling for the pigs.

Feeding higher density feed will reduce the amount of heat generated from digestion.

Increasing the oil content by adding beef tallow, white grease, or vegetable oil whilst decreasing the amount of fibre content in the diet.

Ross, J. W. Physiological consequences of heat stress in pigs, Animal Production Science, (2015), 55(12):1381-1390.

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