Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Effect of a topical anaesthetic formulation on the cortisol response to surgical castration of unweaned beef calves

  • D. McCarthy (a1), S. Lomax (a1), P. A. Windsor (a1) and P. J. White (a1)

Abstract

Impracticality and cost of existing pain management strategies during surgical castration of beef cattle have limited their widespread implementation on-farm. A farmer-applied topical anaesthetic formulation, originally developed and used commercially to mitigate the pain of mulesing in lambs, was investigated for its potential use for managing pain in surgically castrated calves. This formulation contained lidocaine, bupivacaine, adrenalin and cetrimide. In this study, 24 Angus bull calves were randomly allocated to (1) surgical castration (C, n=8), (2) surgical castration with the post-operative application of topical anaesthetic (CTA, n=8) and (3) sham castration/control (CON, n=8). The experiment was conducted over 2 days, with treatment groups evenly represented across each day. Calves were habituated to handling before the experiment and blood samples were collected for plasma cortisol measurement at defined time periods before, at and post treatment, (at −0.5, 0 h, then +0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 h). There was a significant effect of time on cortisol concentrations across all treatment groups (P<0.01), with lowest concentrations at −0.5 and 6 h and peak concentration at 0.5 h being significantly higher than the cortisol response at 0 h. The effect of treatment was not significant (P=0.077), however, there was a trend for CON calves to display lower cortisol concentrations than C and CTA calves and CTA calves to display lower cortisol concentrations than C calves. The mean area under the curve (AUC) of CON calves was significantly lower than those of C and CTA calves (P=0.04), however, there was no significant difference between the AUCs of CTA and C calves. Immediate application of topical anaesthetic after surgical castration did not significantly reduce plasma cortisol concentrations. However, the trend for CTA calves to display lower cortisol concentrations than C calves warrants further investigation into the use of TA for pain relief of surgically castrated beef calves.

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
Alam, MGS and Dobson, H 1986. Effect of various veterinary procedures on plasma concentrations of cortisol, luteinising hormone and prostaglandin F2 alpha metabolite in the cow. Veterinary Record 118, 710.
Budzynska, M and Weary, DM 2008. Weaning distress in dairy calves: effects of alternative weaning procedures. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 112, 3339.
Coetzee, JF 2011. A review of pain assessment techniques and pharmacological approaches to pain relief after bovine castration: practical implications for cattle production within the United States. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 135, 192213.
Coetzee, JF 2013. Assessment and management of pain associated with castration in cattle. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Food Animal Practice 29, 75101.
Coetzee, JF, Lubbers, BV, Toerber, SE, Gehring, R, Thomson, DU, White, BJ and Apley, MD 2008. Plasma concentrations of substance P and cortisol in beef calves after castration or simulated castration. American Journal of Veterinary Research 69, 751762.
Cooke, RF, Arthington, JD, Austin, BR and Yelich, JV 2009. Effects of acclimation to handling on performance, reproductive, and physiological responses of Brahman-crossbred heifers. Journal of Animal Science 87, 34033412.
Earley, B and Crowe, MA 2002. Effects of ketoprofen alone or in combination with local anaesthesia during the castration of bull calves on plasma cortisol, immunological, and inflammatory responses. Journal of Animal Science 80, 10441052.
Fisher, AD, Crowe, MA, Alonso de la Varga, ME and Enright, WJ 1996. Effect of castration method and the provision of local anesthesia on plasma cortisol, scrotal circumference, growth, and feed intake of bull calves. Journal of Animal Science 74, 23362343.
Gann, DS and Egdahl, RH 1965. Responses of adrenal corticosteroid secretion to hypotension and hypovolemia. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 44, 17.
Hopster, H, van der Werf, JTN, Erkens, JHF and Blokhuis, HJ 1999. Effects of repeated jugular puncture on plasma cortisol concentrations in loose-housed dairy cows. Journal of Animal Science 77, 708714.
Lay, DC Jr, Friend, TH, Bowers, CL, Grissom, KK and Jenkins, OC 1992. A comparative physiological and behavioral study of freeze and hot-iron branding using dairy cows. Journal of Animal Science 70, 11211125.
Lay, DC Jr, Friend, TH, Randel, RD, Bowers, CL, Grissom, KK, Neuendorff, DA and Jenkins, OC 1998. Effects of restricted nursing on physiological and behavioral reactions of Brahman calves to subsequent restraint and weaning. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 56, 109119.
Loberg, JM, Hernandez, CE, Thierfelder, T, Jensen, MB, Berg, C and Lidfors, L 2008. Weaning and separation in two steps – A way to decrease stress in dairy calves suckled by foster cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 111, 222234.
Lomax, S, Dickson, H, Sheil, M and Windsor, PA 2010. Topical anaesthesia alleviates short-term pain of castration and tail docking in lambs. Australian Veterinary Journal 88, 6774.
Lomax, S, Sheil, M and Windsor, PA 2008. Impact of topical anaesthesia on pain alleviation and wound healing in lambs after mulesing. Australian Veterinary Journal 86, 159168.
Lomax, S, Sheil, M and Windsor, PA 2013. Duration of action of a topical anaesthetic formulation for pain management of mulesing of sheep. Australian Veterinary Journal 91, 160167.
Lomax, S and Windsor, PA 2013. Topical anesthesia mitigates the pain of castration in beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 91, 49454952.
Mellor, DJ, Cook, CJ and Stafford, KJ 2000. Quantifying some responses to pain as a stressor. In The biology of animal stress: basic principles and implications for animal welfare (ed. GP Moberg and JA Mench), pp 171198. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.
Molony, V and Kent, JE 1997. Assessment of acute pain in farm animals using behavioral and physiological measurements. Journal of Animal Science 75, 266272.
O’Loughlin, A, McGee, M, Doyle, S and Earley, B 2014. Biomarker responses to weaning stress in beef calves. Research in Veterinary Science 97, 458463.
Paull, DR, Lee, C, Colditz, IG, Atkinson, SJ and Fisher, AD 2007. The effect of a topical anaesthetic formulation, systemic flunixin and carprofen, singly or in combination, on cortisol and behavioural responses of Merino lambs to mulesing. Australian Veterinary Journal 85, 98106.
Pesenhofer, G, Palme, R, Pesenhofer, RM and Kofler, J 2006. Comparison of two methods of fixation during functional claw trimming – walk-in crush versus tilt table – in dairy cows using faecal cortisol metabolite concentrations and daily milk yield as parameters. Wiener Tierarztliche Monatsschrift 93, 288294.
Petherick, JC 2005. Animal welfare issues associated with extensive livestock production: the northern Australian beef cattle industry. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 92, 211234.
Puig, CJ, Greiner, R, Huchery, C, Perkins, I, Bowen, L, Collier, N and Garnett, ST 2011. Beyond cattle: potential futures of the pastoral industry in the Northern Territory. The Rangeland Journal 33, 181194.
Reichl, M and Quinton, D 1987. Comparison of 1% lignocaine with 0.5% bupivacaine in digital ring blocks. Journal of Hand Surgery 12, 375376.
Stafford, KJ and Mellor, DJ 2005. The welfare significance of the castration of cattle: a review. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 53, 271278.
Stafford, KJ, Mellor, DJ, Todd, SE, Bruce, RA and Ward, RN 2002. 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. Research in Veterinary Science 73, 6170.
Stewart, M, Verkerk, GA, Stafford, KJ, Schaefer, AL and Webster, JR 2010. Noninvasive assessment of autonomic activity for evaluation of pain in calves, using surgical castration as a model. Journal of Dairy Science 93, 36023609.
Stilwell, G, Carvalho, RC, Carolino, N, Lima, MS and Broom, DM 2010. Effect of hot-iron disbudding on behaviour and plasma cortisol of calves sedated with xylazine. Research in Veterinary Science 88, 188193.
Sutherland, MA, Davis, BL, Brooks, TA and McGlone, JJ 2010. Physiology and behavior of pigs before and after castration: effects of two topical anesthetics. Animal 4, 20712079.
Sylvester, SP, Mellor, DJ, Stafford, KJ, Bruce, RA and Ward, RN 1998. Acute cortisol responses of calves to scoop dehorning using local anaesthesia and/or cautery of the wound. Australian Veterinary Journal 76, 118122.
Tagawa, M, Okano, S, Sako, T, Orima, H and Steffey, EP 1994. Effect of change in body position on cardiopulmonary function and plasma cortisol in cattle. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 56, 131134.
Ting, STL, Earley, B, Hughes, JML and Crowe, MA 2003. Effect of ketoprofen, lidocaine local anesthesia, and combined xylazine and lidocaine caudal epidural anesthesia during castration of beef cattle on stress responses, immunity, growth and behavior. Journal of Animal Science 81, 12811293.
Veissier, I and Le Neindre, P 1988. Cortisol responses to physical and pharmacological stimuli in heifers. Reproduction Nutrition Development 28, 553562.
Webster, HB, Morin, D, Jarrell, V, Shipley, C, Brown, L, Green, A, Wallace, R and Constable, PD 2013. Effects of local anesthesia and flunixin meglumine on the acute cortisol response, behavior, and performance of young dairy calves undergoing surgical castration. Journal of Dairy Science 96, 62856300.

Keywords

Effect of a topical anaesthetic formulation on the cortisol response to surgical castration of unweaned beef calves

  • D. McCarthy (a1), S. Lomax (a1), P. A. Windsor (a1) and P. J. White (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed