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Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology and Body Weight in Piglets

Abstract

Reference ranges for clinical biochemical parameters commonly investigated in pigs were determined in one- (day 1), 21- and 35-day old piglets. The mean and standard deviation were also estimated for body weight, and haematological and clinical biochemical parameters at these ages. The piglets were divided into 2 investigation groups according to whether they had a haemoglobin concentration ≤ 80 g/1 (“anaemic group”) or > 80 g/1 (“normal group”) on days 14,21 and 28. The “anaemic group” was compared to the “normal group” on days 21 and 35. Many of the clinical biochemical parameters varied according to age. Some of the enzymes had high average values and wide reference ranges in piglets, especially on day 1, compared to the reference ranges for sows given in the literature. The refer-ence ranges for some of the metabolic parameters were broader on day 1 than later in the preweaning period. The reference ranges for albumin, total iron-binding capacity and serum iron were, however, lower and more narrow on day 1. On days 21 and 35, rel-atively high values for phosphorus must be considered “normal” compared to the fig-ures given in the literature for adult pigs. The other minerals seemed to be quite unaf-fected of age, but some were affected by anaemia. The anaemic piglets had lower average serum iron but higher total iron-binding capacity than the “normal” piglets on days 21 and 35. However, variation between piglets gave wide reference ranges, indi-cating that these parameters will only have limited usefulness in detecting iron defi-ciency anaemia in piglets. The electrolytes seemed also to be affected by the existence of anaemia. The body weight and leukocyte counts were significantly lower in the “anaemic group” than the “normal group” on day 35, while the greatest differences in clinical biochemical parameters between the groups were found on day 21, when the piglets in the “anaemic group” were most severely anaemic. Although these piglets suf-fered from severe iron-deficiency anaemia, only a few clinical biochemical parameters were affected, and the differences between groups were mostly small.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the staff of the Central Laboratory, Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Nutrition, Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to A. K. Egeli.

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Egeli, A.K., Framstad, T. & Morberg, H. Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology and Body Weight in Piglets. Acta Vet Scand 39, 381–393 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03547786

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Keywords

  • anaemia
  • reference ranges
  • wood chemistry
  • blood values