Journal of
Cell and Animal Biology

  • Abbreviation: J. Cell Anim. Biol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0867
  • DOI: 10.5897/JCAB
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 261

Full Length Research Paper

Rectal temperature responses of pigs transported by road and administered with ascorbic acid during the hot-dry season

O. O. Asala1*, J. O. Ayo2, P. I. Rekwot3, N. S. Minka4 and A. Y. Adenkola5
1National Veterinary Research Institute, P. M. B. 01, Vom, Plateau State. Nigeria. 2Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, kaduna State, Nigeria. 3National Animal Production Research Institute, Shika, Zaria, kaduna State, Nigeria. 4College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna State, Nigeria. 5Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 27 January 2010
  •  Published: 31 March 2010


Experiments were performed in order to determine the rectal temperature (RT) responses of pigs to eight-hour road transportation and the effect of administration of ascorbic acid (AA) on the responses in transported pigs during the hot-dry season. Twenty three experimental pigs were given AA orally and individually at 100 mg/kg prior to the transportation, while thirteen control pigs were administered with 20 ml of drinking water. The RTs of the pigs were measured by inserting a clinical thermometer (Hartman Company, England) into the rectum via the anus. The ambient temperature (AT) and relative humidity (RH) were measured concurrently with the RT. The AT and RH values ranged between 23.5 - 39.0°C and 43 - 97% respectively. The values were outside the thermo-neutral zone for the pig, indicating that the season was thermally stressful. The AT values, which fluctuated with the hour of the day and increased with the hour of the journey, were significantly (P < 0.001) and positively correlated with RT values in both experimental (r = 0.941) and control pigs (r = 0.942). The overall mean RT value of 39.8 ± 0.1°C recorded in the experimental pigs after 8 h road transportation did not differ (P > 0.05) with the corresponding value of 39.4 ± 0.3°C in control pigs, demonstrating that AA did not induce hypothermia in experimental pigs. In conclusion, transportation of pigs by road for 8 h in the zone induces hyperthermia and administration of AA in the experimental pigs did not induce hypothermia. Optimum duration of road transportation of pigs is 6 h. This duration should be considered in the development of guidelines and welfare for pigs, transported by road during the hot-dry season.


Key words: Transportation stress, rectal temperature, ambient temperature, hot-dry season, ascorbic acid, pigs.