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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Production

Effect of surgical castration with or without oral meloxicam on the acute inflammatory response in yearling beef bulls123


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 8, p. 4123-4131
    Received: Mar 31, 2015
    Accepted: June 15, 2015
    Published: July 24, 2015

    4 Corresponding author(s):

  1. S. L. Roberts*,
  2. H. D. Hughes*,
  3. N. C. Burdick Sanchez,
  4. J. A. Carroll,
  5. J. G. Powell,
  6. D. S. Hubbell§ and
  7. J. T. Richeson 4*
  1. * Department of Agricultural Sciences, West Texas A&M University, Canyon 79016
     Livestock Issues Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Lubbock, TX 79403
     Department of Animal Science, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701
    § Livestock and Forestry Research Station, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Batesville 72501


Pain management and welfare are increasingly prevalent concerns within animal agriculture. Analgesics may alleviate pain and inflammation associated with castration of beef cattle. This study was conducted to elucidate the effects of surgical castration on the acute inflammatory response and immunomodulation and whether concurrent oral administration of meloxicam (1 mg/kg BW) would alter these responses. On d –1, crossbred bull calves (n = 30; initial BW = 227.4 ± 10.3 kg) were fitted with indwelling jugular catheters and rectal temperature (RT) recording devices, placed into individual stanchions, and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments. Treatment application occurred at h 0 and consisted of 1) intact bull calves treated with sham castration (CON), 2) bulls surgically castrated without meloxicam administration (CAS), and 3) bulls surgically castrated with oral meloxicam (1 mg/kg BW) administration (MEL). Blood samples were collected at 0.5-h intervals from h –2 to 4, 1.0-h intervals from h 4 to 8, and 12-h intervals from h 12 to 72. Serum was analyzed for cortisol and haptoglobin (Hp) concentrations using ELISA. Whole blood was analyzed for complete blood counts at –2, 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 h, and RT was recorded in 5-min intervals. Postcastration RT was greatest for MEL (39.04), intermediate for CAS (38.99), and least for CON (38.93°C; P ≤ 0.01). Serum cortisol was increased (P < 0.001) for CAS (12.3) and MEL (11.3) compared with CON (6.7 ng/mL) during the postcastration period. At 0.5 and 1.5 h, cortisol concentration was greater in CAS and MEL than CON, whereas at 2 and 2.5 h, cortisol concentration was greatest for CAS, intermediate for MEL, and least for CON (treatment × time, P < 0.001). Total white blood cell (P ≤ 0.04), lymphocyte (P ≤ 0.02), and monocyte (P ≤ 0.002) counts were greatest for CAS, intermediate for MEL, and least for CON. Administration of MEL reduced (P ≤ 0.002) eosinophil counts during the postcastration period when compared with CON and CAS. The change in serum Hp, relative to baseline values, was reduced for MEL at 36 (P < 0.01) and 60 h (P ≤ 0.03), and the overall Hp concentration was least for MEL (P < 0.001). Oral administration of meloxicam at the time of castration reduced the acute inflammatory response in castrates, as evidenced by a reduction in Hp and certain leukocyte concentrations; it also caused a delayed increase in RT. Further research is needed to determine if this reduced acute inflammatory response would equate to improved health and/or performance after castration.

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