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Interpretive Summary: Effect of bupivacaine liposome suspension administered as a local anesthetic block on indicators of pain and distress during and after surgical castration in dairy calves

By: Miriam S. Martin, Michael D. Kleinhenz, Abbie V. Viscardi, Andrew K. Curtis, Blaine T. Johnson, Shawnee R. Montgomery, Maria E. Lou, and Johann F. Coetzee

Castration is a routine procedure performed on beef and dairy operations in the United States. All methods of castration cause pain. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners recommend that anesthesia and analgesia be administered during castration. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of bupivacaine liposome suspension, a novel, long-acting, local anesthetic formulation administered as a nerve block at castration, as an alternative to current industry standards using lidocaine nerve blocks alone or in combination with meloxicam. Evidence provided in the current study demonstrates that pain from surgical castration can last up to 120 h post-castration, indicated by changes in ocular temperature, gait analysis, and prostaglandin metabolite concentrations. These data show that the administration of bupivacaine liposome suspension as a local anesthetic block at the time of castration was as effective at controlling pain as a multimodal approach of lidocaine and meloxicam. A single injection that alleviates both perioperative and postoperative pain would be an attractive option for livestock producers to alleviate pain at the time of castration. Further research is needed to discover effective ways of managing pain for extended durations following painful husbandry procedures.

This article is available on the Journal of Animal Science.