Hypoglycemia in Neonatal Piglets

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Hypoglycemia is a common cause of death in neonatal piglets. Glycogen reserves are soon depleted if piglets become chilled or fail to ingest an adequate amount of milk. Chilling may occur if the effective temperature in the piglet sleeping area is less than ~95°F during the first week of life. Signs of hypoglycaemia include loss of condition, weak vocalization, faltering gait, cold skin, and recumbency. These are rapidly followed by paddling, frothing at the mouth, coma, and death if intervention does not occur.

If chilling occurs, the piglets should be put in a warm environment with a supplemental heat source such as heat lamps. If the piglets are not receiving an adequate amount of milk, cross-fostering or milk supplementation can be beneficial. Porcine milk replacers, bovine colostrum, or evaporated milk diluted equally with water can be used for supplemental nutrition until piglets are able to consume nutrient-dense solid food.