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Monitoring of behavior, sex hormones and boar taint compounds during the vaccination program for immunocastration in three sire lines

  • Heyrman, E
  • Kowalski, Eline
  • Millet, S
  • Tuyttens, Frank
  • Ampe, Bart
  • Janssens, S
  • Buys, N
  • Wauters, Jella
  • Vanhaecke, Lynn
  • Aluwé, M
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2019.04.010
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Immunocastration (vaccination against boar taint) is an alternative method to prevent boar taint without the need for surgical castration. This study investigates the evolution of boar taint compounds in serum and fat, serum steroid compounds as well as behavior in immunocastrated pigs from 3 sire lines: 15 stress positive Belgian Pietrain (BP), 20 stress negative French Pietrain (FP), and 20 stress negative Canadian Duroc (CD). Hormone and boar taint compounds in serum were determined at 4 time points; boar taint compounds in fat were determined at 3 time points. Behavior, skin lesions, animal and pen fouling were also recorded before the first vaccination ( < V1), between the first and second vaccination ( < V2), and after the second vaccination ( > V2). Aggressiveness, eating and drinking and general activity behavior declined from < V1 to < V2 and > V2 for all sire lines. Pigs from BP were cleaner than FP and CD pigs. Even though immunocastration was effective in general (reduced testosterone, estradiol as well as androstenone in serum) for all sire lines, some individual pigs showed either androstenone or skatole levels in fat above cutoff values. While the immunocastration mechanism works as intended for androstenone, and also for skatole for the three sire lines, the risk of carcasses with boar taint compounds above cutoff levels (respectively 1.9 and 3.7%) still remains to some extent.

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