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Article

Local Anesthetic Delivered with a Dual Action Ring and Injection Applicator Reduces the Acute Pain Response of Lambs during Tail Docking

CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia
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Academic Editors: Mandy Paterson and Peter White
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082242
Received: 31 May 2021 / Revised: 21 July 2021 / Accepted: 27 July 2021 / Published: 30 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pain Mitigation for Farmed Livestock)
Tail docking is a procedure practiced on millions of lambs all over the world. The objective is to prevent fecal soiling on the lower part of the tail, reduce soiling of the breech, and thereby lessen the risk of blowfly strike. Docking can be done with a knife or a clamp, but applying a latex ring round the tail, cutting off the blood supply so that the tail drops off a few weeks later, is the most popular method. All methods cause acute pain which diminishes substantially after the first hour. The present trial determined whether local anesthetic delivered by a prototype Numnuts® device, a novel, dual-function applicator, would reduce this pain in two to four-week-old lambs. Comparison of lambs that were sham handled, lambs that underwent ring tail docking and a third group of lambs that underwent ring tail docking and that were injected with lignocaine using the dual function device was conducted. All lambs were returned to their pen with their mothers and videoed for three hours for behavioral signs of pain. Every five minutes for the first hour and then every ten minutes, each lamb’s posture, movement and feeding behavior was classified and quantified, and the data subjected to statistical analysis. It was concluded that applying lignocaine using the novel device greatly reduced the degree of pain observed.
Docking the tail of lambs is a standard husbandry procedure and is achieved through several techniques including clamps, hot or cold knives and latex rings, the last of which is the most popular. All tail docking methods cause acute pain which can be reduced by application of local anesthetic, however precise anatomical injection for optimal efficacy requires considerable skill. This pen trial evaluated the ability of local anesthetic (LA) delivered with a dual function ring applicator/injector to alleviate acute tail docking pain. Thirty ewe lambs were assigned to one of three treatment groups (n = 10 per group): ring plus local anesthetic (Ring LA), ring only (Ring) and sham handled control (Sham). Lambs were videoed and their behavior categorized every five minutes for the first hour and every 10 min for the subsequent two hours after treatment. There was a significant effect (p < 0.001) of treatment on total active pain related behaviors in the first hour, with Ring lambs showing higher counts compared to Ring LA or Sham. Ring lambs also displayed a significantly higher count of combined abnormal postures (p < 0.001) than Ring LA or Sham lambs. Delivery of 1.5 mL of 2% lignocaine via the dual action device abolished abnormal behaviors and signs of pain in Ring LA lambs. However, lambs in the Ring LA group spent less time attempting to suckle compared to Ring and Sham lambs, suggesting that some residual discomfort remained. View Full-Text
Keywords: analgesia; sheep; ischemia; latex ring; rubber ring; de-tailing; behavior analgesia; sheep; ischemia; latex ring; rubber ring; de-tailing; behavior
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MDPI and ACS Style

Small, A.; Marini, D.; Colditz, I. Local Anesthetic Delivered with a Dual Action Ring and Injection Applicator Reduces the Acute Pain Response of Lambs during Tail Docking. Animals 2021, 11, 2242. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082242

AMA Style

Small A, Marini D, Colditz I. Local Anesthetic Delivered with a Dual Action Ring and Injection Applicator Reduces the Acute Pain Response of Lambs during Tail Docking. Animals. 2021; 11(8):2242. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082242

Chicago/Turabian Style

Small, Alison, Danila Marini, and Ian Colditz. 2021. "Local Anesthetic Delivered with a Dual Action Ring and Injection Applicator Reduces the Acute Pain Response of Lambs during Tail Docking" Animals 11, no. 8: 2242. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082242

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