Van der Saag, D., Lomax, S., Windsor, P. A. et al. 2019. Effect of lignocaine and a topical vapocoolant spray on pain response during surgical castration of beef calves. Animals 9(4), 126.

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.

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