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Animals 2017, 7(10), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani7100076

Objective Measures for the Assessment of Post-Operative Pain in Bos indicus Bull Calves Following Castration

1
College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia
2
Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-2630 Copenhagen, Denmark
3
School of Mathematics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
4
Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Simple Summary

Surgical castration of cattle is a common husbandry procedure, and although this procedure is known to cause pain in cattle and other species, in some countries it is often performed without anaesthesia or analgesia. Society is increasingly aware of this animal welfare issue and it is creating pressure to drive research into animal welfare science with the aim of identifying practical and economical approaches to pain management in livestock. To effectively manage pain, a pain assessment must be performed. Pain assessment methods are often subjective and therefore influenced by the observer. Ideally, objective assessments that generate consistent and repeatable results between observers should be identified. Bos indicus bull calves were divided into four groups: no castration (NC, n = 6); castration with pre-operative local anaesthetic (CL n = 12); castration with pre-operative anti-inflammatory medication (CM, n = 12); and, castration without pain relief (C, n = 12). A range of objective assessments was performed: bodyweight measurements, activity, and rest levels, and four different compounds in the blood. The results of this study suggest that animals rest for longer periods after the pre-operative administration of anti-inflammatory medication. The other objective assessments measured in this study were not able to consistently differentiate between treatment groups. These findings emphasise the need for alternative quantifiable and objective indicators of pain in Bos indicus bull calves.

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess pain in Bos indicus bull calves following surgical castration. Forty-two animals were randomised to four groups: no castration (NC, n = 6); castration with pre-operative lidocaine (CL, n = 12); castration with pre-operative meloxicam (CM, n = 12); and, castration alone (C, n = 12). Bodyweight was measured regularly and pedometers provided data on activity and rest from day −7 (7 days prior to surgery) to 13. Blood was collected for the measurement of serum amyloid A (SAA), haptoglobin, fibrinogen, and iron on days 0, 3 and 6. Bodyweight and pedometry data were analysed with a mixed effect model. The blood results were analysed with repeated measure one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). There was no treatment effect on bodyweight or activity. The duration of rest was greatest in the CM group and lowest in the C group. There was a significant increase in the concentrations of SAA, haptoglobin, and fibrinogen in all of the groups from day 0 to 3. Iron concentrations were not different at the time points it was measured. The results of this study suggest that animals rest for longer periods after the pre-operative administration of meloxicam. The other objective assessments measured in this study were not able to consistently differentiate between treatment groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: analgesia; husbandry; Brahman; Australia; welfare analgesia; husbandry; Brahman; Australia; welfare
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MDPI and ACS Style

Musk, G.C.; Jacobsen, S.; Hyndman, T.H.; Lehmann, H.S.; Tuke, S.J.; Collins, T.; Gleerup, K.B.; Johnson, C.B.; Laurence, M. Objective Measures for the Assessment of Post-Operative Pain in Bos indicus Bull Calves Following Castration. Animals 2017, 7, 76.

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