Surgical Castration Changes Struggle Behavior and Vocalizations in Male Piglets

Lou, Maria, Ventura, Beth, Deen, John and Li, Yuzhi (2021) Surgical Castration Changes Struggle Behavior and Vocalizations in Male Piglets. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science . pp. 1-8. ISSN 1088-8705

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2021.1916938

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This study assessed acute pain in piglets during castration through behavioral indicators. Piglets (n=88) were randomly allocated to one of two treatments: surgical castration and sham-castration. Within 24 hours after birth, identical castration procedures were followed for both treatment groups, except sham piglets were not castrated. Struggle behavior (curl ups, leg kicks, and body flailing) and vocalization (duration and peak frequency) were analyzed during the castration procedure. Castrated piglets kicked more frequently than sham piglets (28.8 vs. 21.3 kicks/min, SE = 0.09; P = 0.02). Additionally, 51.2% of castrated piglets displayed body flailing, whereas only 4.4% of sham piglets displayed the same behavior (P = 0.03). Castrated piglets responded with more high frequency (≥1,000 Hz) calls than sham piglets (23.6 vs. 18.6 calls/min, SE = 0.26; P = 0.04) and high frequency calls tended to be of longer duration for castrated piglets (0.45 vs. 0.27 sec/call, SE = 0.04; P = 0.08). Results indicate that surgical castration increased the frequency of leg kicks, body flailing, and high frequency calls compared to sham-castration, suggesting these may be useful behavioral indicators of acute pain in piglets.

Keywords:pig, welfare, routine procedure, pain
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D420 Livestock
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:49703
Deposited On:08 Jun 2022 10:25

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