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Schiele, Daniela Maria (2010): Untersuchungen über den Einsatz von topischer Kryobehandlung und Lokalanästhesie bei der Kastration männlicher Saugferkel. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the use of topical vapocoolant, local anesthetics (LA) and fixation of the spermatic cord with a clamp during piglet castration. Based on serum cortisol measurements, the impact of various castration-methods on pain and stress was examined. Additionally, the wound healing process was assessed. A total of 221 male suckling piglets, three to five days old, were randomly assigned to eight different treatments and groups: Group 1: fixation, no castration; Group 2: fixation, cryogen spray, no castration; Group 3: fixation, castration; Group 4: fixation, cryogen spray, castration; Group 5: fixation, castration, LA dropped into the wound Group 6: fixation, cryogen spray, castration, LA dropped into the wound; Group 7: intratesticular (i.t.) LA, fixation, castration; Group 8: fixation, cryogen spray, castration, fixation of the spermatic cord with a clamp, LA dropped on the fixed cord. The cryogen spray (ethyl chloride) was applied from a distance of 10 cm to the scrotum until a skin temperature up to -12 °C was achieved. The local anesthetic (40 mg procainehydrochloride with 0.05 mg epinephrine) was either dropped into the wound after removal of the testes (Group 5 and 6), injected into the testes 10 minutes prior to castration (Group 7) or dropped on the spermatic cord after removal of the testes (Group 8). The concentration of cortisol in the serum of the piglets was measured 30 minutes before and 30 minutes, one hour, four hours and one day after castration/fixation. Wound healing was evaluated one day, four days, seven days, 14 days and 21 days after castration. The results of the cortisol measurements indicated that handling has a minor impact on the neuroendocrine stress response compared to castration. None of the examined castration methods (Groups 4-8) induced a significant minor stress reaction than the conventional method of castration (Group 3). Fixation of the piglet and application of cryogen spray caused significantly higher average cortisol concentrations than fixation alone half an hour after treatment(Group 2 vs. Group 1). A minimizing effect on castration induced stress using a cryogen spray prior to castration was not evident (Group 4 vs. Group 3). After dropping a local anesthetic into the wound (Group 5), the average cortisol levels of the piglets were by trend lower than those of conventionally castrated piglets (Group 3) half an hour after castration. Four hours after castration, the average cortisol concentration of piglets of Group 5 and 6 were significantly higher than that of Group 3. The preoperative intratesticular application of the local anesthetic had no significant effect on pain induced stress half an hour and one hour after castration compared to the average cortisol concentration of conventionally castrated piglets (Group 3). Four hours after castration, the cortisol levels of the animals of Group 7 were significantly higher than the cortisol levels of Group 3 piglets. The application of cryogen spray combined with the use of a clamp to fix the spermatic cord (Group 8) led to a significant increase in serum cortisol concentration one hour after castration compared with the serum cortisol concentration of conventionally castrated piglets (Group 3). The wound healing was not affected by using the cryogen spray or by intratesticular application of the local anesthetic. When local anesthetics were dropped into the wound and when the spermatic cord was fixed with a clamp, the wound healing was significantly impaired.