The Assessment and Alleviation of Adverse Stimuli in Pigs

Rebecca Wilson

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    350 Downloads (Pure)


    The assessment of health and treatment of illness and injury in weaner pigs is of
    vital importance to the piggery industry. The ability to identify early sickness
    behaviours and have methods to measure recovery of these animals will enhance
    production and improve animal wellbeing. In addition the administration of
    analgesic/anti-inflammatory drugs to ill or injured animals provides pain relief
    and improves recovery. The aim of this thesis was to improve pig health and
    welfare management by focussing on “best practice” detection and management
    of adverse stimuli. This was to be achieved by assessing pigs’ responses to
    adverse stimuli on farm, using common and novel techniques, and assisting the
    pigs ability to cope with adverse stimuli, mainly through the application of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Initial results from a producer survey
    indicated that producers have a good understanding of anti-inflammatory drugs
    and their application, it also highlighted that behaviour was one of the most used tools to assess pain in animals. The importance of behaviour in assessing
    recovery was emphasised in the first experiment which compared new and
    existing tools to assess the recovery of ill or injured weaner pigs, infrared eye
    temperatures were correlated to rectal temperatures and pigs treated with
    ketoprofen spent more time standing that pigs administered meloxicam. Two
    further studies were conducted to determine the efficacy of three different
    analgesic drugs on an inflammation model. The first of these was designed to
    determine a suitable inflammation model to be used in pigs. It compared
    inflammatory properties of turpentine, Improvac®, Neovac® and saline, results
    indicated that Improvac® injection gave a similar acute phase response to
    turpentine and it was established that it was suitable to be used as an
    inflammation model to test anti-inflammatory medications. The second of these
    studies compared meloxicam, ketoprofen and dexamethasone, both meloxicam
    and ketoprofen showed anti-pyretic properties and ketoprofen treated pigs had
    lower haptoglobin concentrations. The final experiment compared efficacy of
    meloxicam and ketoprofen in a commercial setting on naturally occurring
    lameness in weaner pigs, it also aimed to determine if administering antiinflammatory medicaments for a longer period of time that currently advised
    improves recovery rates. Responses were similar for both anti-inflammatory
    drugs and it was concluded that the administration of either anti-inflammatory
    drug will assist in recovery during the acute phase of lameness. Additional
    treatments did not appear to alter recovery rates. This thesis determined that
    behaviour was a practical, subtle measure to identify illness and injury in pigs,
    further research into the novel assessment measures of infrared eye temperatures and tear staining is needed before they could become practical tools within production and that ketoprofen and meloxicam can be considered equally effective in assisting recovery in weaner pigs.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Doyle, Rebecca, Principal Supervisor, External person
    • Holyoake, Trish, Co-Supervisor
    • Cronin, Greg, Co-Supervisor, External person
    Award date02 May 2016
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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