Meet the braithwaites castration

Surgical castration is known to cause physiological and behavioral changes in pigs indicative of met or exceeded NRC () nutrient requirements. Water was Taylor, A. A., D. M. Weary, M. Lessard, and L. Braithwaite. It is concluded that the welfare benefits of local anaesthesia for castration of piglets, as carried out and assessed here, may not fully meet expectations, and that. Effects of meat processing on the perception of boar taint sham-manipulated pigs (Weary, Braithwaite and Fraser, ; Taylor and Weary.

No piglets were subjected to teeth clipping. The rooms were filled in an all-in, all-out manner and were cleaned and disinfected between groups. Study design This study involved piglets males and females from litters.

Piglets received an injection of mg of iron dextran and were ear notched within 48 hours of birth. Cross-fostering did occur in this herd prior to ear notching, but researchers were unable to document which pigs were moved from one litter to another. Once pigs were ear notched and litters identified for the study, no cross-fostering was allowed. At 5 to 7 days of age, piglets were weighed and alternately assigned to a treatment as they were picked up, with the first male pig given treatment A and the second male pig given treatment B; the females were assigned to a treatment in the same manner.

Each piglet was identified by a number marked on the top of its head. Researchers were blind to treatment until the trial was complete.

Effect of local anaesthesia and/or analgesia on pain responses induced by piglet castration

Piglets were returned to the farrowing crate for 30 minutes before processing. They were then picked up a second time, tail docked using side-cutters, and then castrated if male before being set down.

Castration was carried out following methods of Van Beirendonck et al9 by making an initial horizontal incision in the scrotum with a scalpel after which the testicles were removed by tearing the spermatic cords.

Cryptorchid pigs and pigs with inguinal hernias were identified prior to treatment and not included in the study. Mortality data were collected daily.

In addition, all piglets were individually weighed at processing and just prior to weaning 19 to 21 days of age using a DYMO shipping scale Pelouze, Albany, California. The scale had a maximum capacity of 68 kg and a resolution of 0. Sows were categorized by parity and litter size at the time of the study. Measurements Weight at processing and weaning, as well as mortality data, were collected from all pigs. Additional measurements were undertaken in a smaller number of piglets to assess pain control.

Vocalization was assessed during castration on a subset of male piglets using a decibel meter Decibel Meter Pro; Performance Audio for iOs devices, Apple Inc, Cupertino, California to determine the amplitude of sound produced.

The decibel meter was held as close to the snout as possible, without touching it, throughout the entire procedure. The call with the highest intensity level during the castration was recorded.

Decibel dB is a unit for expressing the relative intensity or relative difference in power between acoustic signals on a scale from 0 for the average least perceptible sound to approximately for the average level causing pain. For the interpretation of results, power gain unit values were re-transformed to decibels using an on-line calculator available at http: Behavior of piglets was scored for the period immediately following processing and for 30 minutes afterwards.

On a day when several litters were to be castrated, one litter was chosen for observational studies. There was insufficient manpower to intensively monitor behavior in multiple litters at one time. Typically, a litter with at least four males and four females was chosen so that each treatment category was represented twice.

Following tail docking and castration, piglet behavior was observed through continuous observation of instantaneous behaviors in15 litters piglets. This study evaluated the effect of local anaesthesia and analgesia on vocal, physiological and behavioural responses during and after castration. A second purpose was to evaluate if herdsmen can effectively administer anaesthesia.


Methods Four male piglets in each of litters in five herds were randomly assigned to one of four treatments: Lidocaine L, LM was injected at least three minutes before castration and meloxicam M, LM was injected after castration.

During castration, vocalisation was measured and resistance movements judged. Behaviour observations were carried out on the castration day and the following day. The day after castration, castration wounds were ranked, ear and skin temperature was measured, and blood samples were collected for analysis of acute phase protein Serum Amyloid A concentration SAA. Piglets were weighed on the castration day and at three weeks of age. Sickness treatments and mortality were recorded until three weeks of age.

There were no significant treatment effects for skin temperature, weight gain, sickness treatments or mortality. Conclusions The study concludes that lidocaine reduced pain during castration and that meloxicam reduced pain after castration.

The study also concludes that the herdsmen were able to administer local anaesthesia effectively. Background Each year approximately 1. The number for all EU countries is approximately million. The castration is mainly performed to eliminate boar taint in the meat, but also to prevent aggressive and sexual behaviour of male pigs. Castration is performed within the piglet's first week of life and is traditionally carried out without anaesthesia and analgesia.

As surgical castration induces pain in piglets the procedure is considered an important animal welfare issue [ 1 ]. Pain is subjective and therefore difficult to quantify, and there are no specific parameters for measuring it [ 2 ].

However, it is widely accepted that piglets may react to pain in three ways: Although piglets usually vocalise a lot when they are handled there is a clear difference in their vocalisation between being handled and castrated. Piglets that are castrated without anaesthesia produce a higher number of calls and with a higher frequency compared to piglets castrated with anaesthesia [ 24 ] or sham-castrated piglets handled identically but without castration [ 5 - 7 ].

The greatest amount of high-frequency calls are produced when the piglet's spermatic cords are pulled and severed, and is therefore identified as the most painful moment during castration [ 8 ].

The sympathetic nervous system is activated during different kinds of stress pain, anger and fear and several changes are noted in the body, for example: During activation adrenocorticotropic hormone is released and induces secretion of cortisol [ 9 ]. These changes can be used as possible indicators of pain and several of these changes have been shown in piglets during and after castration [ 21011 ].

Stress, trauma, infection or inflammation also triggers the acute phase protein response, which is a part of the body's early defence. Serum amyloid A SAA is a major acute phase protein in pigs that can increase quickly and with large amplitude, and SAA level can therefore be used for defining the health and welfare status of pigs [ 12 ]. During castration, piglets without anaesthesia produce resistance movements with longer duration and higher intensity than piglets with anaesthesia [ 13 ].

After castration, behaviour alterations show that pain responses induced by castration persists over time; up to four to six days after castration according to some studies [ 51415 ]. The pig production sector is searching for suitable methods that reduce pain induced by surgical castration, and alternatives to surgical castration. The method must be fast, cost effective, produce minimum stress and pain both during and after castration, and be safe for both the handler and the piglet.

The method should also ensure a quick recovery to minimize the risk of the piglet being crushed by the sow. Currently there are essentially two alternatives that meet most of these requirements and which could be accepted in Swedish pig production.

One method is immunocastration and the other involves the use of local anaesthesia and analgesia.

Effect of local anaesthesia and/or analgesia on pain responses induced by piglet castration

A second purpose was to evaluate if herdsmen can effectively administer local anaesthesia by intratesticular injection. If the outcome of the study shows that herdsmen are able to effectively administer local anaesthesia this can lead to change of regulation, which will make it possible for herdsmen in Sweden to anaesthetise their piglets before castration.

All piglets in the study would have been subjected to castration as a routine procedure, regardless of the study. Herds, animals and management The study was conducted between October and February in five piglet-producing herds in the south-central part of Sweden. The herds were satellite herds within a sow pool with Landrace x Yorkshire sows, and the sires of the piglets were Hampshire boars. Batch-wise production was applied and in each batch about 45 sows farrowed in individual farrowing pens.

The pens had a concrete floor, with a slatted floor in the dunging area and a nest area for the piglets with a heat lamp. Cross-fostering was applied and these piglets were not discriminated in the study.