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Animals 2019, 9(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040126

Effect of Lignocaine and a Topical Vapocoolant Spray on Pain Response during Surgical Castration of Beef Calves

1
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
2
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
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Simple Summary

Ensuring a good state of welfare in farm animals is important for ethical reasons and sustainability of livestock industries. Addressing pain in farm animals during and following surgical husbandry procedures is a significant component of animal welfare. Until recently, practical constraints associated with delivery of traditional forms of analgesia have prevented widespread uptake by producers, especially in large, extensively managed animal production systems. In recent years, novel anaesthetic and analgesic products have been developed to facilitate practical delivery of post-operative pain relief to livestock. However, the issue of intra-operative pain during husbandry procedures remains unaddressed. Therefore, this study investigated the efficacy of pre-operative injected lignocaine and peri-operative topical vapocoolant spray, administered as most practical for incorporation into routine procedures, for pain relief during castration of calves. Results from this study provide no evidence that lignocaine or vapocoolant spray reduced pain during castration of calves. Pulling of the spermatic cords appeared to be the most painful component of the castration procedure. This finding may assist in clarifying what methods for relieving procedural pain associated with castration of calves merit future research.

Abstract

This study assessed the efficacy of pre-operative injected lignocaine and peri-operative topical vapocoolant spray, administered as most practical for incorporation into routine calf castration procedures. Calves were randomly allocated to: (1) sham castration (SHAM); (2) surgical castration (CAST); (3) surgical castration with lignocaine (LIG); and (4) surgical castration with vapocoolant spray (VAPO). Calf behavioural responses were scored at different stages of the sham castration or castration procedure. Maximum ocular temperatures were measured at three time-points relative to restraint and treatment. There were significant effects of treatment (p < 0.001) and stage of procedure (p < 0.001) on calf behavioural response. SHAM calves were more likely to display less severe responses compared to all other calves and LIG calves were more likely to display less severe responses compared to VAPO calves. Calves were more likely to display more severe responses to extrusion of the first spermatic cord compared to all other stages of castration, and to extrusion of the second spermatic cord compared to severing of the second spermatic cord. There was a significant effect of time (p < 0.001) on ocular temperature, with ocular temperature being greater following sham castration or castration. In this study, there was no evidence of pain reduction during castration of calves by either lignocaine or vapocoolant spray. View Full-Text
Keywords: behaviour; castration; cattle; lignocaine; pain; ocular temperature; stress; vapocoolant spray behaviour; castration; cattle; lignocaine; pain; ocular temperature; stress; vapocoolant spray
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Van der Saag, D.; Lomax, S.; Windsor, P.A.; Hall, E.; White, P.J. Effect of Lignocaine and a Topical Vapocoolant Spray on Pain Response during Surgical Castration of Beef Calves. Animals 2019, 9, 126.

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