Featured Articles

Interpretive Summary: Homeopathic supplementations effects on stress response of growing pigs from road transportation

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

Livestock transportation may cause significant economic losses in the swine industry due to the animal's stress response. Previous research has linked road transportation to many factors negatively impacting the animal's physiological status; release of glucocorticoids, inhibition of antibodies following vaccination, and interferes with the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, to name a few. Furthermore, extensive research has associated the use of homeopathic remedies derived from natural substances such as plants and minerals with alleviating the stress response in animals. Therefore, the authors hypothesized that dietary supplementation of a homeopathic remedy (Convermax) could lessen the stress response generated by road transportation and positively affect nutrient digestibility and fecal microbial community. 

Growth performance, nutrient digestibility, fecal microbiota, serum cortisol, and superoxide dismutase concentrations were evaluated in the current study for pigs supplemented with and without Convermax before road transportation. While transportation did not have a negative impact on growth performance, supplemented pigs had an increased gain-to-feed ratio. Fecal coliform bacteria counts were increased due to road transportation, though no effect in lactic acid bacteria counts were observed. Supplementation of Convermax also did not affect fecal bacteria counts. Supplementation of Convermax reduced the serum cortisol levels, increased the concentration of superoxide dismutase, and increased apparent nitrogen digestibility. 

Authors suggest that different species' differing results may be attributed to the various homeopathic remedy components or other animals' breeds. In conclusion, road transportation does induce a stress response in growing pigs and can increase the counts of harmful bacteria in the feces. Supplementation of Convermax to the diet could alleviate some stress responses measured in the current study and improve nitrogen digestibility and gain-to-feed ratio.

This article is available in the Journal of Animal Science.