Experimental study on the effect of oral meloxicam administration in sows on pre-weaning mortality and growth and immunoglobulin G transfer to piglets

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Parturation is an intrinsically risky and painful process for both the sow and the piglets that can cause welfare and economic problems. Non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been demonstrated to partially alleviate in-flammation and pain after farrowing in sows. NSAIDs effects on piglet mortality and performance show discrepancies and no previous studies have investigated the underlying mechanism. The effects of oral meloxicam treatment to sows on im-munoglobulin G (IgG) transfer to piglets around farrowing were investigated. A total of 30 multiparous sows were randomly treated with either oral meloxicam or a mock administration as control group. Treatment was administered as soon as possible at the beginning of the farrowing. A total of 325 piglets were individually weighed at farrowing (day 0) and at weaning (day +21) and piglet mortality was registered during lactation. Four piglets per sow (two piglets suckling from anterior teats and two piglets suckling from posterior teats) were selected for blood sampling at day +1, day +2 and day +20 for IgG analyses. Oral meloxicam treat- ment to sows significantly increased weight at weaning (mean ± SE: 6563 ±86.3 g from oral meloxicam group and 6145 ± 103.2 g from control group; P = 0.0017) and ADG (mean ± SE: 236 ± 3.4 g/day from oral meloxicam group and 217 ± 4.5 g/dayfrom control group; P < 0.001) during lactation, but failed to reduce piglet mortality during lactation (6.7% from oral meloxicam group and 6.8% from control group; P = 0.89). IgG levels in piglets from the sows treated with oral meloxicam were significantly higher than the con-Trol group at day +1 (mean; median [95% CI] for median = 31.9; 31.7 [29.6-33.6] vs. 27.9; 26.8 [25.9-28.3] mg/ml, P = 0.0013) and day +2 (27.6; 27.0 [24.8-29.6] vs. 24.5; 24.2 [22.1-25.3] mg/ml, P = 0.01). However, at day +20, IgG level in piglet serum was not significantly affected by the treatment (7.6; 7.6 [6.7-8.4] vs. 7.1; 6.9 [6.4-7.3] mg/ml, P = 0.59). The administration of meloxicam orally at the beginning of the farrowing in multiparous sows increased the concentration of IgG in serum of piglets and enhanced their pre-weaning growth. Future research is warranted to clearly identify the proximate mechanism behind IgG effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
JournalTierarztliche Umschau
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Lactating sow
  • Meloxicam
  • Piglet
  • Pre-weaning mortality
  • Weight gain


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