Influence of teeth resection on the skin temperature and acute phase response in newborn piglets
Two experiments were carried out to determine the effect of different teeth resection methods on skin temperature, concentrations of the acute phase proteins C–reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA), and cortisol in piglets. In Experiment 1, piglets from 60 litters were
assigned to three treatments where the 'needle' teeth were clipped (CLIP), ground (GRIND) or left intact (INT) within 12 h of birth; skin temperature was measured immediately afterwards. Fourteen pigs were selected in each treatment for blood sampling at 1 day and 29 days-of-age for the determination
of concentrations of CRP, SAA and cortisol. In Experiment 2, a 2 × 2 factorial design was used to determine the effect of teeth clipping and time spent out of the farrowing crate post-clipping on skin temperature. Piglets from 60 litters had their teeth clipped (CLIP) or left
intact (INT) and were returned to the farrowing crate immediately or after 1 min. Skin temperature was measured after piglets were returned to the farrowing crate and after 10 min. In Experiment 1, CLIP and GRIND piglets had significantly lower skin temperatures than INT piglets; skin temperature
was also significantly reduced in CLIP piglets in Experiment 2. Skin temperature did not differ between time-out groups. Plasma levels of CRP and SAA did not differ between treatments on day 1; however, concentrations of both proteins were significantly higher on day 29. CLIP pigs had significantly
higher concentrations of CRP in comparison with GRIND pigs on day 29. Stress caused by teeth resection provoked a transient reduction in skin temperature. Furthermore, both resection methods caused infection and/or inflammation, but to a similar degree as that caused by leaving the teeth intact.
These results indicate that the welfare of piglets is better in the short term if their teeth are left intact; however, if teeth resection is necessary grinding can be recommended in preference to clipping.