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A comparison of welfare outcomes for weaner and mature Bos indicus bulls surgically or tension band castrated with or without analgesia: 2. Responses related to stress, health and productivity

By J. Carol Petherick, Alison H. Small, David G. Mayer, Ian G. Colditz, Drewe M. Ferguson, Kevin J. Stafford

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Abstract

Tension banding castration of cattle is gaining favour because it is relatively simple to perform and is promoted by retailers of the banders as a humane castration method. Two experiments were conducted, under tropical conditions using Bos indicus bulls comparing tension banding (Band) and surgical (Surgical) castration of weaner (7–10 months old) and mature (22–25 months old) bulls with and without pain management (NSAID (ketoprofen) or saline injected intramuscularly immediately prior to castration). Welfare outcomes were assessed using a range of measures; this paper reports on some physiological, morbidity and productivity-related responses to augment the behavioural responses reported in an accompanying paper. Blood samples were taken on the day of castration (day 0) at the time of restraint (0min) and 30min (weaners) or 40min (mature bulls), 2h, and 7h; and days 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 post-castration. Plasmas from day 0 were assayed for cortisol, creatine kinase, total protein and packed cell volume. Plasmas from the other samples were assayed for cortisol and haptoglobin (plus the 0min sample). Liveweights were recorded approximately weekly to 6 weeks and at 2 and 3 months post-castration. Castration sites were checked at these same times to 2 months post-castration to score the extent of healing and presence of sepsis. Cortisol concentrations (mean±s.e. nmol/L) were significantly (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 157
Pages 35-47
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.05.005
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Tags
  1. antiinflammatory agents
  2. Castration
  3. Cattle
  4. Cortisol
  5. Inflammation
  6. Pain