Jeremy Marchant-Forde


Jeremy Marchant-Forde's Main Page

Past Research Program

1. The development and application of a novel housing system to allow continuous behavioral and physiological monitoring


The lab was involved in a collaborative study with BioAnalytical Systems, Inc., to develop a penning system (the PigTurn™) that enables us to collect blood samples remotely, whilst monitoring behavior. The basic idea is that as the pig walks around the pen, the pen rotates in the opposite direction, ensuring that its catheter does not get twisted. Blood samples can be taken every 6 minutes using BASi's automatic sampling Culex system, which removes the need to restrain the animal to take the sample.

The effect of this is illustrated by the graph to the right. When a pig is manually restrained and sampled by jugular venipuncture, we have a blood norepinephrine level of around 700 pg/ml (yellow line). With automatic sampling, average nor-epinephrine levels average around 250 pg/ml, regardless of whether pigs are being manually restrained and sampled simultaneously in the same room (blue line) or not (green line). This shows that the manual sampling is extremely stressful in itself. We have received Phase II NIH funding under the SBIR scheme to continue the system's development to include remote sensing of heart rate, ECG, blood pressure and core body temperature and also to incorporate elements to enrich the environmental. We see potential application of this system in the animal welfare field to improve our ability to quantify an individual's stress response to an imposed stressor (e.g. heat stress, chronic noise stress, etc.) with any effect of response to the human sampler removed. This is extremely important for the refinement of our data and to further our understanding of pigs' responses to specific stressors in a non-confounded manner.

Shelly DeBoer also investigated ways to add environmental enrichment into the system and investigating whether the enrichments effect pig welfare and physiology. Initial results show that the addition of a rubber mat and a mirror work to decrease plasma cortisol concentrations – a classical physiological indicator of stress.

This multidisciplinary project was carried out in collaboration with BioAnalytical Systems Inc., Dr. Lee Matthews (Purdue) and Dr. Greg Knipp (Purdue).

Results of these studies are available here:

Marchant-Forde, J.N., Matthews, D.L., Poletto, R., McCain, R.R., Mann, D.D., DeGraw, R.T., Hampsch, J.M., Peters, S., Knipp, G.T. and Kissinger, C.B. (2012) Plasma cortisol and noradrenalin concentrations in pigs: automated sampling of freely moving pigs housed in the PigTurn® versus manually sampled and restrained pigs. Animal Welfare, 21: 197-205.

DeBoer, S.P., Garner, J.P., Lay Jr., D.C., Eicher, S.D., Lucas, J.R. and Marchant-Forde, J.N. (2013) Does the presence of a human effect the preference of enrichment items in young isolated pigs? Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 143: 96-103.

Deboer, S.P., Garner, J.P., Eicher, S.D., Lay, Jr., D.C. and Marchant-Forde, J.N. (2012) Effects of social isolation and environmental enrichment on laboratory housed pigs In. (Eds. S. Waiblinger, C. Winckler & A. Gutmann) Proceedings of 46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology. P94


2. Gastric ulceration and dietary modification in sows

This study carried out by Stephanie Wisdom, looked at the relationship between the addition of various dietary treatments for gastric ulcers and their effects on gastric ulcerations in the esophageal area of the stomach of gestating sows. In an attempt to find any other effects of the gastric ulceration treatments, gastric pH, salivary pH, heart rate, and oral stereotypies were also measured.

In the first study, testing was done to determine the difference in the ability of two oral antacids to reduce gastric pH in gilts. Both ranitidine, an H2-receptor blocker, and omeprazole, a proton-pump inhibitor, were fed to gilts on a rotational schedule while gastric pH was recorded throughout the day. While there was no significant difference in gastric pH when gilts were fed diets with ranitidine or omeprazole, omeprazole was more effective in raising gastric pH maintaining a high gastric pH over time.

In the second study, gastric ulcer treatments, including omeprazole, high dietary fiber in the form of soybean hulls, and sodium bicarbonate, were added to the gestation and lactation diets of pregnant sows and gilts. Throughout gestation, endoscopies were performed on the sows and gilts to determine the levels of gastric ulceration, saliva samples were collected to determine salivary pH, video was recorded to collect data on oral stereotypies, and heart rate was monitored before and after feeding. Endoscopies were also performed on the stomachs of recently slaughtered sows to compare with morphological scoring.

There was no effect of treatment diet, parity, or gestation day on gastric ulceration. However, the group fed the 10% fiber (F) diet tended to have the lowest ulcer scores and the 2% sodium bicarbonate (B) diet tended to have the highest ulcer scores, and ulcer scores tended to increase as gestation day progressed (See Figure 3).

The endoscopy validation performed on the sow stomachs showed poor agreement between ulcer scores when viewed through and endoscope and examined morphologically, which could suggest that differences in ulceration in the sows and gilts fed treatment diets may have been larger but due to limitations of the endoscopic examination, these differences were not recorded.

Figure 3
Figure 3. Average ulcer score by treatment. The 2% sodium bicarbonate (B) group tended to have the highest ulcer scores while the 10% fiber (F) group tended to have the lowest ulcer scores.

We collaborated with Dr. Brian Richert (Purdue), Dr. Scott Radcliffe (Purdue) and Dr. Janice Kritchevsky (Purdue) on this project.

Results of these studies are available here:

Wisdom, S.L., Richert, B.T., Radcliffe, J.S., Lay Jr., D.C., and Marchant-Forde, J.N. (2011) The effects of diet ingredients on gastric ulceration and salivary pH in gestating sows. Journal of Animal Science, 89 (E-Suppl. 1): 461

Wisdom, S.L., Richert, B.T., Radcliffe, J.S., Lay Jr., D.C., and Marchant-Forde, J.N. (2011) The effects of diet ingredients on gastric ulceration and stereotypies in gestating sows. In. (Eds. E.A. Pajor & J.N. Marchant-Forde) Proceedings of 45th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology. P62.