Discussion created on 06/07/2011

Oxytocin for sows

Forum: Dosage of Oxytocin for sows

I would like some advice in regards to the proper dosage rate for oxytocin in sows, at present here in Russia our manufacturers recommend 2-3ml/sow of oxytocin 10iu, worked in the swine industry for many years i find this dosage far too high, i would prefer using 0.5-1.0ml/sow, we are experiencing an increase of stillbirths which i put down to the russian dosage rate. I would appreciate your views. 
Regards, Anthony CJ Rollason Bsc, Bvm.

Anthony  Rollason
Anthony Rollason
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Leann Johnston Leann Johnston
Animal Nutritionist
June 7, 2011
Kansas State has a good bulletin on the use of oxytocin use and increased stillbirths.


Suggests that oxytocin should be limited to older parities and the last half of parturition.
Dr Mauricio Bara Dr Mauricio Bara
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
June 7, 2011
My experience is that every time you give 2 ml or more the uterine contractions become faster but shorter and in many cases spasmotic which may result in inertia or sometimes rupture of the uterus. It is better to use 1/2 ml every half an hour or 1 ml evry hour, making sure that piglest are being born at 20 min. intervals (15 to 25 min). If more than 30 min have lapsed it is better to carry out a manual delivery.
Gregg Bisset Gregg Bisset
Pig farmer
June 7, 2011
I would agree with Dr Mauricio and add that oxytocin has a "feel good effect" (not that sows would feel to good when giving birth!) and has milk letdown impacts. A smaller dose more often would mimick the natural release patterns. I have found that oxytocin without first ensuring sow has not got one stuck can be a real problem as she can start to pack the birth canal with piglets leading to large numbers of still births. First ensure through observation that the sow is not contracting. Often getting the sow up and laying on the other side can be a good intervention if contractions are still present. I personally cannot stress the importance of close observation. We farrow 66 sows down in a batch and sows are observered every 30 minutes and events recorded with chalk on the back panel of the crate eg last time piglet was born or given oxy or rolled over or entered. We use things like entered and cleared ( E&C) or entered and pull say 2 (e& P2) and the time the event occured. We place pegs on the back of sows farrowing so it is easy for the staff member to know which sows are farrowing and speeds up the observation process. However be careful staff do not get to eager as every internal casues some damage. We cut our still births from 7-8% to now under 4% using these startergies.
June 7, 2011
maybe the manufacturer wants to increase there sales in oxytocin but 20-30iu is good if you try to collect milk from the sow or do manual intervention after 5-10 minutes of giving oxytocin.
Pablo Moreno Pablo Moreno
Veterinary Doctor
June 9, 2011
I agree with everybody the less we use the better results.
In my experience I have a good results using a dosis of 0.5 if is 10 IU or .25 (1/4) if is 20 IU. Repeat dosis every 45 minutes No more than 2 dosis.
Next are the criteria to use Oxitocyn (all the time check the sows to be sure that is not an obstruction of the canal)

1. Old sows with low uterine contractions
2. Sows that farrow more than 10 piglets in less than a period of 1 hr an show signs of uterine atony
3. Sows with farrowing problems and we intervene pulling obstructed pigs and we notice low contraction during the intervention.
Pablo Moreno DVM
July 28, 2011

Two thoughts come to mind on this topic.

1. we need to be very clear whether we are talking about oxytocin as an obstetrical tool or as part of a farrowing induction protocol. In this case it sounds like you are focused on the former.

2. as an obstetrical tool don't forget that the sow still has the ability to release oxytocin with proper stimulation. Massaging of the udders will often cause the sow to roll onto her side and initiates an endogenous oxytocin release. I find this approach prior to resorting to injections is prudent.


July 29, 2011
To all the people who responded to my article in regards to the dosage rate for oxytocin.
When i arrived here in Russia in 2006 it seemed common practice to give sows 3ml oxytocin 10iu once the sow has started the farrowing process, so you can imagine the problems that have existed here with this practice, so i have stopped this routine and have seen a dramatic drop in stillbirths from 10% down to 4%, although the drug companies still insist that you give 3ml as it is the way they do things in Russia, makes you thonk if the oxytocin is containing a high % of water as most drugs are here.
Pablo Moreno Pablo Moreno
Veterinary Doctor
July 29, 2011
Hi Anthony.

the dose of 2- 3 ml is for complement of treatment for Mastitis. it is not recomended for farrowing


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Jon Bergstrom
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