Date Full Report Received11/15/2009
Date Abstract Report Received11/15/2009
Funded ByNational Pork Board
Surgical castration of male piglets is a common management practice carried out on commercial swine farms to prevent aggressive behavior and the occurrence of boar taint. However, the procedure of surgical castration causes acute pain induced distress which is an animal welfare concern. The objective of this study was to examine novel methods (needle-free injection systems or topical) to potentially alleviate the pain induced distress caused by castration in piglets as measured by known physiological and behavioral indices of castration stress in piglets. Physiological and behavioral measures of distress were not reduced by any of the analgesic methods used in this study. Furthermore, wound healing was delayed by applying short acting topical anesthetic to the wound. The needle-free system was as effective as the needle injection method. In the current study, the use of a short or long acting topical anesthetic was not effective in reducing the pain induced distress caused by castration in piglets. Further research is needed to evaluate alternative practical methods to reduce the pain caused by castration in piglets’ on-farm.