Saville, J. W., Ross, J. A., Trefz, T. et al. 2020. Development and field validation of lidocaine-loaded castration bands for bovine pain mitigation. Animals 10(12), 2363.
Castration is among the most common management procedures performed in the dairy and beef cattle industries and is mainly performed by surgery or elastic banding. Despite the various benefits of castration, all methods produce pain and distress. Castration by banding is simple, inexpensive, produces fewer complications, and can be performed in a high-throughput manner. Because lidocaine, a local anesthetic, can be delivered to trauma sites topically, we have formulated lidocaine-loaded castration bands (LLBs) to deliver local pain relief to calves during banded castration. The initial lidocaine content of three band types developed was between 80 and 200 mg per band. The transfer kinetics of lidocaine into tissue was determined in vitro, indicating a rapid release for the first 30 min, followed by a slow release lasting at least 48 h. Furthermore, the lidocaine delivery and pain mitigation effects of these LLBs were compared to standard lidocaine injections in vivo. Field studies indicated that LLBs performed at least as well as lidocaine injections for short-term lidocaine delivery into tissues and pain mitigation. Moreover, LLBs significantly outperformed lidocaine injections for long-term delivery and pain mitigation. The concentrations of lidocaine in the LLB-treated tissue samples were generally in the range of 0.5–3.5 mg of lidocaine per gram of tissue and were overall highest after 6 h. Lidocaine-loaded elastration bands deliver therapeutic quantities of lidocaine into scrotal tissues over a period of at least seven days in cattle. This approach would provide long-term pain mitigation to the animals and, by avoiding surgery or the administration of injections, would also decrease the time and handling costs for the producer.