Mitigating castration pain in piglets

Study evaluates the effect of transdermal flunixin in controlling castration pain using a behavioral pain scale.

December 8, 2022

2 Min Read
National Pork Board

Castration is a painful procedure and there are no approved drugs in the United States to control piglet pain. Banamine is a common drug found on farms that is used to control lameness pain, but no work to date has evaluated transdermal flunixin in controlling castration pain in piglets.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of transdermal flunixin (TDF) in controlling castration pain using a behavioral pain scale (Unesp pig acute pain scale UPAPS). A total of 98 Large White x Duroc cross male piglets from 98 litters were enrolled in this study. Piglets were randomly assigned to the following treatments:

  1. Castration + Saline (C)

  2. Castration + 3.33 mg/kg of Flunixin (CF)

  3. No castration + Saline (S)

  4. No castration + 3.33 mg/kg of Flunixin (SF)


NC State Fig 1 120822.JPG

All treatments were administered once 24 hr before castration and non-castrated piglets were picked up and handled in a similar manner. Five behaviors were scored at three time points (24 hr before, immediately post and 24 hr post-castration) using a 4-point scale (0-3) and total scores were calculated by summing the score for each of the five behaviors (posture, interaction and interest in surroundings, activity, attention to the affected area and miscellaneous behavior).

Immediately post-castration, castrated piglets showed greater total average pain scores than non-castrated piglets and castrated piglets administered TDF demonstrated lower total pain scores (CF) compared to castrated piglets receiving no treatment (C). Future work should evaluate how to implement TDF as part of a wide scale pain control protocol on a commercial farm setting.

For all inquiries regarding this research, please contact Pairis-Garcia via email.

Source: Magdiel Lopez-Soriano, Victoria Rocha Merenda, Monique Danielle Pairis-Garcia, Pedro Henrique Esteves Trindade and Stelio Pacca Loureiro Luna, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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