Providing domperidone throughout lactation enhances sow lactation performance
By Anne Zinn
Starting at approximately 8 to 10 days of lactation, sows can no longer produce enough milk to sustain optimal growth of their piglets, an issue that has been exacerbated with the current use of hyperprolific sow lines. Therefore, it is crucial to develop strategies to increase sow milk production. A study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science aimed to determine the effects of domperidone given throughout lactation on hormonal and metabolic status, lactational performance, and gene expression in mammary epithelial cells of sows. The impact of domperidone in lactating sows was never studied.
Results of the present study demonstrated that hyperprolactinemia induced by domperidone during lactation affected the endocrine and metabolite status of sows and stimulated growth of their suckling piglets. Results also indicated that domperidone not only affected prolactin concentrations, but also increased concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 and led to advantageous effects on the metabolism of sows; it is unknown whether the beneficial effects of treatment were due solely to the increase in prolactin or were also brought about by the greater insulin-like growth factor-1 concentrations - this needs to be evaluated in future studies. These findings provide the first demonstration that increasing prolactin concentrations during lactation augments milk production in sows.