Seventy male lambs over 10 weeks of age were castrated using Burdizzo, rubber rings, or surgery to assess the acute and long-term effects of castration. All castrations were performed under local anaesthesia. The surgically castrated lambs were additionally sedated with xylazine and the sedation reversed with tolazoline. The frequency of abnormal postures and immediate behavioural responses indicated that surgically castrated lambs were most distressed; the lambs castrated using Burdizzo and rubber rings were not dissimilar to those of the control group. Between 1.5 and 9 h after castration, signs of pain and distress were at a lower level in lambs anaesthetised with bupivacaine compared with those treated with lidocaine. Due to the markedly faster wound healing, Burdizzo castration seemed to be preferable (fewer signs of long-term pain) when compared to the rubber ring technique. It was concluded that local anaesthesia with bupivacaine, followed by the Burdizzo method is the preferable technique for the castration of lambs older than 10 weeks of age. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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