Pig model

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Pigs are a good animal model for research of new disease treatments and for clinical validation of medical and surgical devices. Over the past decades, their use has increased and is attracting the interest of scientists around the world.

The swine model has physiological and physical similarities to human beings. Scientific evidence supports this similarity that most systems and organs have between pigs and human beings. Including: digestive, urinary, cardiovascular and nervous system, together with the skin and dental structure. Pigs are easy to handle, given their domesticated behaviour. They are good models for specific pathologies and there is a good knowledge of the animal. As with other domestic species, pigs have been widely investigated and their pathologies are well known. The use of pigs as a research large animal model has better social acceptance than other species such as dogs or primates.

Some of the key biomedicine areas where the pig model is used are pharmacology; including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, toxicology studies and disease models; surgery to study new surgical techniques, minimally invasive surgical techniques, transplants or surgical robotics; testing and validating medical devices where their similar sized organs and structures make them a very adequate model; and to develop new functional foods.

Main differences between pig breeds Porc petit taula Porc gran taula
  Specipig miniature pig Domestic pig
Specie Sus scrofa domesticus Sus scrofa domesticus
Breed Specipig miniature pig Landrace x Large white
Adult weight 35-40 kg 150-400 kg
Adult feed intake 400-600 g/animal/day 2,000-3,000 g/animal/day
Adult housing (individual-group) 2 m2 (0,70 m2/animal) 4-7,5 m2 (1,35-2,50 m2/animal)
Gestation 3 months – 3 weeks – 3 days 3 months – 3 weeks – 3 days
Handling Easier to handle (domesticated and smaller size) Easy to handle (domesticated)
Medication Lower dose Higher dose


Why a miniature pig?

Using conventional pigs as a model for biomedical research has one large important drawback, domestics pigs grow quickly and can reach up to 250-300 kilos, making it difficult to handle them and to cope with the maintenance costs. 

Specipig, in collaboration with the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) and Semen Cardona, is developing an exclusive genetic breed of SPF miniature pigs, under the brand Specipig®. 

Miniature pigs are easy to handle, since a fully grown miniature adult weighs approximately 35 kg. They need less housing space. Feeding and treatment costs are lower. Miniature pigs are a better model than conventional pigs when the trial needs to be run by adult animals, when tissue regeneration is involved and when the study has a long housing period.

Specipig’s added value, over other companies that breed and market miniature pigs lies in the fact that we are two in one, we breed our own animals and offer research services in fully equipped facilities, open to companies and institutes to conduct research.