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Res Vet Sci. 2002 Aug;73(1):61-70.

Effects of local anaesthesia or local anaesthesia plus a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug on the acute cortisol response of calves to five different methods of castration.

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  • 1Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, College of Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


The cortisol response of calves to different methods of castration (ring, band, surgical, clamp) with or without local anaesthetic, or local anaesthetic plus a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug were recorded. All methods of castration caused a significant cortisol response and by inference pain and distress. Band castration caused a greater cortisol response than ring castration but the responses were eliminated by local anaesthetic. The cortisol response to surgical castration, by traction on the spermatic cords or by cutting across them with an emasculator, was not diminished by local anaesthetic but when ketoprofen was given with local anaesthetic the cortisol response was eliminated. Local anaesthetic did reduce the behavioural response to cutting the scrotum and handling the testes. Clamp castration caused the smallest cortisol response which was reduced or eliminated by local anaesthetic or local anesthetic plus ketoprofen respectively, but this method of castration was not always successful.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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