A randomised pen study evaluating the effectiveness of buccal meloxicam and topical local anaesthetic formulations administered singly or in combination at providing pain relief in female Merino lambs undergoing surgical mulesing plus hot
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A Holdhus Small, D. Marini, M le Floch, D Paull, C Lee

CSIRO Agriculture & Food, FD McMaster Laboratory, New England Highway, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia

Research in Veterinary Science

Mulesing is a painful husbandry procedure commonly used to reduce the risk of breech strike in sheep. This study assessed the behavioural (over 6_h), cortisol, haptoglobin and haematology responses to surgical mulesing plus tail hot knife docking (mulesing); modulated by a buccal meloxicam formulation (Buccalgesic), a topical local anaesthetic wound dressing (Tri-Solfen) or both agents. 24 lambs were allocated to each of: 1) Placebo and sham handled (Sham); 2) Placebo and mulesing (Mules); 3) Buccalgesic and mulesing (Mules_+_B); 4) Tri-Solfen and mulesing (Mules_+_T); 5) Placebo, Tri-Solfen and mulesing (Mules_+_T_+_P); 6) Buccalgesic, Tri-Solfen and mulesing (Mules_+_T_+_B). Compared with Mules, Mules_+_T had a lower cortisol response (72.5_±_8.7_nmol/L v 122.9_±_8.7_nmol/L) at 30_min, reduced statue standing at 2_h (3.9% v 11.4%) and increased lying (20.9–25.0% v 7.3–12.5%). Mules_+_B had reduced cortisol response at 6_h (48.1_±_8.5_nmol/L), reduced Neutrophil:Lymphocyte ratio at 6_h (Mules_+_B: 1.25; Mules: 2.44), reduced statue standing at 2_h and 4–6_h (4.1–8.3%), and increased lying at 5_h (27.4%). Mules_+_B_+_T had lower cortisol concentrations at 30_mins (86.51_±_8.71_nmol/L), TWCC not significantly different from Sham at 6_h (9.07 vs 8.09) and 24_h (9.05 vs 8.38). Mules_+_T_+_B had significantly lower TWCC than Mules at 12_h (9.56 vs 11.05) and 24_h (9.05 vs 10.42). Mules_+_T_+_B did not.

BIOSEB Instruments Used:
SMALGO: SMall animal ALGOmeter (BIO-SMALGO)

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