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A review of pain assessment techniques and pharmacological approaches to pain relief after bovine castration: practical implications for cattle production within the United States. (Special Issue: Pain in farm animals.)

By J. F. Coetzee

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Abstract

Castration of male calves destined for beef production is a common livestock management practice in the United States amounting to approximately 7 million procedures per year. Recently there has been renewed interest in identifying methods to reduce pain associated with dehorning and castration. Although several studies have reported that analgesic drug administration prior to castration attenuates plasma cortisol response, there are currently no compounds specifically approved for pain relief in livestock in the U.S. Validated pain assessment tools are needed to support regulatory approval of analgesic compounds. This may include use of accelerometers, videography, heart rate variability determination, electroencephalography, thermography and plasma neuropeptide measurement to assess behavioral, physiological and neuroendocrine changes associated with a pain response. Extra-label drug use (ELDU) for pain relief is regulated under the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA) and requires that drugs be administered by or under the supervision of a veterinarian. Agents that may provide preemptive analgesia include local anesthetics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, alpha 2-agonists, and N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists. A review of the published literature suggests that a significant decrease in plasma cortisol concentration after castration was associated with preemptive administration of a NSAID and local anesthesia. Local anesthesia alone tended to decrease peak plasma cortisol concentrations more than NSAIDs. However NSAIDs alone tended to decrease the area under the plasma cortisol-time curve more than local anesthesia alone. These findings suggest that multimodal analgesic regimens that extend into the post-operative period are more effective at mitigating pain and distress associated with castration than a single drug modality. Regulatory approval of safe and cost effective analgesic compounds with convenient routes of administration is needed for routine use of pain relieving drugs to be considered as standard practice at the time of castration.

Date 2011
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 135
Issue 3
Pages 192-213
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.10.016
Language English
Author Address Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1250, USA. hcoetzee@iastate.edu hans@coetzee.org
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Tags
  1. Analgesia
  2. Anesthesia
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal health and hygiene
  5. Animal husbandry
  6. Animal physiology
  7. Animal production
  8. Animal reproduction
  9. Animal rights
  10. Animal welfare
  11. Antagonists
  12. antiinflammatory agents
  13. APEC countries
  14. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  15. Blood
  16. Brain
  17. Calves
  18. Castration
  19. Cattle
  20. Cerebrum
  21. Clarification
  22. Cortisol
  23. Dehorning
  24. Developed countries
  25. Drugs
  26. Electroencephalograms
  27. Heart
  28. Heart rate
  29. Husbandry
  30. Hydrocortisone
  31. Livestock
  32. Livestock farming
  33. Mammals
  34. Meat animals
  35. Medication
  36. North America
  37. OECD countries
  38. opioids
  39. Pain
  40. pain relief
  41. pharmaceuticals
  42. Pharmacology & Pharmacy
  43. polling
  44. Postoperative Period
  45. practices
  46. regimens
  47. Research
  48. Reviews
  49. Ruminants
  50. Studies
  51. Techniques
  52. thermography
  53. United States of America
  54. usage
  55. Veterinarians
  56. Veterinary medicine
  57. Veterinary surgery