The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of heat stress and dietary bacitracin methylene disalicylate (BMD) on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and immunological responses in finishing pigs. Four groups of 32 finishing pigs (n = 128) with initial BW between 80 to 90 kg were used. Pigs were fed a corn-soybean meal-distillers grains-based control or BMD (31.5 mg/kg) diet for a 14-d adaptation period at the thermal neutral temperature (23°C), and continued to be fed their respective diets when exposed to a constant temperature (23°C) or a cyclical heat stress environment (37°C from 1000 to 1900 h and 27°C from 1900 to 1000 h) for a 28-d experimental period. Each group of pigs was housed in 4 rooms, with 2 pens/room and 4 pigs/pen. Saliva samples from each pig were collected on d -1 (initial baseline), 1, 13, and 27 for cortisol analysis. Concentrations of haptoglobin, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor-α were determined in serum samples on d -1, 1, 13, and 27. Pigs exposed to heat stress had 31% less ADG (P < 0.001), 23% less ADFI (P < 0.001), 9% less G:F (P < 0.001), and 34% greater average daily water intake (P = 0.03) than those in the non-heat-stress conditions. Dietary BMD tended to reduce ADG (P < 0.07) compared with the control (0.66 vs. 0.73 kg/d, respectively). Heat stress increased (P < 0.05) saliva cortisol on d 1, but no effects were observed on subsequent days. Serum haptoglobin concentrations were greater (P < 0.05) in heat-stressed pigs on d 1, and concentrations tended to remain greater (P < 0.1) on d 13. Pigs fed the BMD diet tended to have a longer villus height (P = 0.07) in the duodenum and greater crypt depths in the duodenum (P = 0.09) and jejunum (P = 0.07). Heat-stressed pigs tended to have a decreased proportion of propionate (P = 0.08), greater acetate:propionate (P = 0.08), and a reduced proportion of valerate (P = 0.02) in the cecum. These results indicate that BMD did not counteract the negative effects of heat stress on growth performance, but BMD appears to increase villus height and crypt depth in the duodenum. Furthermore, heat stress appears to alter VFA production in finishing pigs.
- Finishing pig
- Heat stress