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Researchers Examine Risk Factors For Weaned Piglets During Transport

A preliminary analysis of the risk factors for weaned piglets during transport suggests trailer type, distance travelled and temperature are among the key factors that will influence death loss during transport.

Researchers with the Prairie Swine Center, the Ontario Veterinary College and the University of Saskatchewan on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc have conducted a retrospective analysis of the risk factors for weaned piglet mortality during transport.

Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says records provided by five commercial transporters for more than six thousand transports from 2014 to 2018 covering almost seven million piglets were assessed.

Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Center:

We've done a preliminary analysis.Hannah Golightly, the post-doctoral student, is still working on the final analysis.When comparing different trailer types, there were some pot belly trailers, flat deck trailers and other designs of trailers.

The data shows that the pot trailers were having poorer performance than the flat deck and other trailer designs in terms of death losses.The longer trips with multiple pick ups also had higher death losses.That's not too surprising.

One interesting result so far is that the cooler temperatures, so January and February with temperatures below zero, had the highest mortality where as some previous published data showed that higher temperatures were more of a challenge but those results would be in the U.S. or other countries where they don't have as cold a temperatures and so maybe not as challenging conditions as we might have in our Canadian winters.Those are the significant early findings and Hannah is continuing on with the analysis.

Dr. Brown says the information gathered through this study will help define best practices for transporting weaner pigs, identify where we can improve trailer designs, establish optimal temperatures for weaner pig transport and help in setting regulations for transporting weaner pigs.

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