Behavioural responses and the effect of lidocaine and meloxicam on behaviour of piglets after castration were studied. A total of 144 piglets of 2 to 5 days of age were allocated to one of six treatments: castration (CAST), castration with lidocaine (LIDO), castration with meloxicam (MELO), castration with lidocaine and meloxicam (L + M), handling (SHAM) and no handling (NONE). Behaviour was observed for 5 days after the procedure, growth until weaning was recorded and characteristics of the castration wound noted. MELO piglets showed significantly (P <0.05) more no pain-related behaviour than CAST and LIDO at the afternoon after castration, and were not significantly different from SHAM and NONE. LIDO piglets showed an increase (P <0.001) in tail wagging, lasting for 3 days. This increase was not seen in L + M piglets. The occurrence of several behaviours changed with age, independent of treatment. A treatment effect on growth was not found. Wound healing was rapid in all treatments, but thickening of the heal was observed in several piglets, suggesting perturbation in the cicatrization process. Our study showed a pain-relieving effect of meloxicam after castration. Local anaesthesia resulted in piglets performing more tail wagging during the first few days after castration, which was prevented by administering meloxicam in combination with local anaesthesia.
- surgical castration