Unfortunately, newborn piglets have very low energy reserves to maintain a correct internal body temperature (proportionally 12 times less than those of a human infant) and these are basically made up of fat, which amounts to 1-2% of body weight, and glycogen(*). A determining factor in the piglet’s poor thermoregulatory capacity is the absence of brown fat(**), which is essential for classic thermogenesis without shivering (a metabolic process that cannot occur in the absence of brown adipose tissue)(***). Therefore, newborn piglets can rely almost exclusively on shivering thermogenesis (shivering – repetitive contractions of muscle fibres to produce heat) for their thermoregulation.
The lack of brown fat reserves underlines the importance of tissue glycogen as an energy reserve. The total amount of glycogen stored at birth can be estimated at 30-35 g/kg body weight, 90% of which comes from muscle glycogen, with the remaining 10% stored in the liver(*).
It is essential to intervene with a vital thermal “support” such as OMEOTERM® BIOTEMP SYSTEM in the first 48-72 hours of life.
OMEOTERM® BIOTEMP SYSTEM, through the beneficial and revitalising action of REAL FIRs, promotes vasodilation and microcirculation, thus making the glycogen reserves stored in the muscles more readily available.
(*) Le Dividich J., & Noblet J. (1983): “Thermoregulation and energy metabolism in the neonatal pig”. Annales de recherches veterinaires. Annals of veterinary research, 14(4), 375-381.
(**) Herpin, Patrick & Damon, Marie & Le Dividich Jean. (2002): “Development of thermoregulation and neonatal survival in pigs”. Livestock Production Science. 78: 25-45; Berg F., Gustafson U., & Andersson, L. (2006): “The uncoupling protein 1 gene (UCP1) is disrupted in the pig lineage: a genetic explanation for poor thermoregulation in piglets”. PLoS genetics, 2(8), e129; Lianjie Hou, Ching Yuan Hu,Chong Wang (03 October 2018): “Pig Has No Brown Adipose Tissue”. https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.31.1_supplement.lb695
(***) Cannon B., & Nedergaard J. (2004): “Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance”. Physiological reviews, 84(1), 277-359.
The efficiency of the thermoregulatory and cardiovascular capacity increases rapidly after the first few days, favouring blood flow to the skeletal muscle and enhancing the capacity for shivering thermogenesis, which plays an important role in preserving homeothermia. Even in this new situation, it is essential that the heat supply is perfectly regulated and proportional to the actual need, and for this, OMEOTERM® BIOTEMP SYSTEM represents the best technical and physiological solution without harmful thermal excesses(****).
(****) Zhou, Hongsen & Xin, Hongwei (1999): “Effects of Heat Lamp Output and Color on Piglets at Cool and Warm Environments”. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 15.