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Vet J. 2007 Mar;173(2):333-42. Epub 2005 Oct 11.

Effect of local anaesthesia on short- and long-term pain induced by two bloodless castration methods in calves.

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Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse Faculty of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, PO 8644, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.


Behavioural and cortisol responses of calves were used as indicators of pain to assess short- and long-term effects of bloodless castration methods with and without local anaesthesia. Seventy calves, aged 21-28 days, were control handled (20) or castrated using the Burdizzo (25) or rubber ring technique (25). Either 10 mL lidocaine or NaCl were distributed in both spermatic cords and the scrotal neck. The plasma cortisol response was recorded for 72 h, and behavioural and clinical traits monitored over a three month period. Local anaesthesia reduced the level of indicators of acute pain after both the Burdizzo and rubber ring techniques. It did not, however, result in a totally painless castration. As there was evidence of chronic pain lasting for several weeks after rubber ring castration, the Burdizzo method is judged to be preferable to the rubber ring technique.

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