The effect of infusion of urea into the vena cava on feed intake of finishing gilts

H. Y. Chen, A. J. Lewis, P. S. Miller, J. T. Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Three experiments were conducted to evaluate the relationship between feed intake and plasma urea concentration. In Exp. 1, six gilts (BW 53 kg) with catheters in their venae cavae were used in a 5 × 5 + 1 Latin square design to determine the amount of infused urea needed to mimic the plasma urea concentration of pigs fed a 25% CP diet. Five gilts were fed a 16% CP corn-soybean meal diet and were infused continuously with either saline or one of four doses of urea (6, 12, 18, and 24 g/d) during each of five periods (12 h/period). Between periods, infusions were stopped for 36 h. The sixth pig was fed a 25% CP diet and infused with saline during each of the experimental periods. Venous blood samples were obtained at 1-h intervals starting 1 h before infusion. As expected, plasma urea concentration increased with increasing amount of urea infused. A daily infusion of 24 g of urea resulted in a plasma urea concentration similar to that of the pig fed the 25% CP diet with saline infusion. In Exp. 2, 12 gilts (BW 60 kg) were used in a crossover design. Pigs received a 16% CP diet and a different treatment (saline or 24 or 30 g/d of urea) in each of three infusion periods. Each infusion period lasted 2 wk. Infusions were stopped for 2 d between periods. Blood samples were obtained before infusion and daily after infusions started. Feeders were weighed daily to determine ADFI. Experiment 3 was similar to Exp. 2, except that only two treatments (saline and 30 g/d of urea) were used. Data from Exp. 2 and 3 were combined for statistical analysis. Plasma urea concentration increased linearly (P < .001) with increasing amount of urea infused. Overall, there was a trend (P < .10) for urea infusion to decrease ADFI, and pigs infused with 30 g/d consumed less (P < .05) feed than pigs infused with saline. Therefore, plasma urea concentration may play a role in regulating feed intake in gilts consuming excess protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3248-3252
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Feed intake
  • Infusion
  • Pigs
  • Plasma
  • Urea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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