Davis, K., Seddon, Y., Creutzinger, K. et al. 2017. An investigation into the use of sucrose to reduce castration pain in piglets. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 97(3), 439-447.
Oral sucrose was evaluated for its ability to reduce pain following castration. Piglets (n = 126) were assigned to one of the five treatments: (1) castrated and given 3 mL of water (C); (2) castrated with 3 mL of 30% sucrose before castration (SucB); (3) castrated and given 3 mL of 30% sucrose after castration (SucA); (4) sham castrated and given 3 mL of water (SHAM); (5) sham castrated and given 3 mL of 30% sucrose SucSHAM. Piglet navigation time (NT) through a handling chute was tested at 0, 15, 30, and 45 min after treatment as a measure of pain. Serum cortisol and pen behaviours were also recorded. At 0, 15, and 30 min, C piglets had a greater NT than SHAM and SucSHAM piglets (P < 0.05). The NT of SucA piglets was similar to SHAM and SucSHAM, and shorter than C at 15, 30, and 45 min. The NT of SucB piglets was similar to SHAM and SucSHAM at 30 and 45 min, and shorter than C at 15 and 45 min. Handling chute behaviour suggests that sucrose provides some degree of pain relief following castration: sucrose given before castration showing more consistent results than when given after.