Torcivia, C., McDonnell, S. 2022. Efficacy of lidocaine topical solution in reducing discomfort reaction of horses to intramuscular vaccination. Animals 12(13), 1659.
Vaccinations via intramuscular injection are a key component of preventative health care in horses. Development of problematic behavioral aversion to injections is quite common. Our clinical impression has been that topical anesthetic applied to injection sites can reduce the behavioral reaction; however, this has not been critically tested. To blindly evaluate efficacy, either 5% or 10% topical lidocaine solution or 0% control was applied to injection sites for 78 ponies two minutes before intramuscular vaccination. Mean reaction scores on a scale of 0–3 were 0.84 (se 0.18) for 5% lidocaine solution, 0.62 (se 0.14) for 10% lidocaine solution, compared to 1.30 (se 0.19) for 0% control solution. Reaction scores for both the 5% and 10% lidocaine were significantly lower than for the control group. Additionally, the proportion of subjects with a reaction greater than a slight flinch was 2 of 25 for the 5% lidocaine, 5 of 26 for the 10% lidocaine and 15 of 27 for the 0% lidocaine control. For both the 5% and 10% lidocaine groups, the proportion differed significantly from the control. The difference between the 5% and 10% lidocaine groups was not statistically significant. These findings confirm our clinical impression that application of topical anesthetic just two minutes in advance of intramuscular injection can effectively reduce the behavior reaction of horses.