Abstract: Acute stress following surgical castration of calves is a common animal welfare concern. Administration of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce post-castration stress but treatments vary in cost and efficacy. In this study, the effectiveness of sodium salicylate in relieving stress during invasive castration of calves was assessed on the basis of changes in serum cortisol levels and was compared with the effectiveness of ketoprofen. Twenty male Holstein calves were divided into 4 groups: a sham-operated untreated group, a castrated untreated group and 2 castrated groups receiving NSAIDs (sodium salicylate or ketoprofen). NSAIDs were injected intravenously immediately before administering local anesthetic. Blood samples were collected at regular time intervals for measurement of cortisol concentrations. Serum cortisol concentrations of the calves that were administered sodium salicylate were lower than those of the calves that were not administered any NSAID at 1, 1.5 and 2 h after castration and higher than those of the calves that were administered ketoprofen at 2 h after castration (p<0.05). Although, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of sodium salicylate are weaker than those of ketoprofen, the use of salicylic acid derivatives in surgical castration is useful from the viewpoint of animal welfare and entails a significantly lower cost.
Ken Onda, Yukiko Emura, Aya Saito, Tooru Ikeyama, Reiichiro Sato, Hideharu Ochiai, Kazuyuki Kaneko, Tsunenori Iriki and Yasunori Wada, 2012. Sodium Salicylate Attenuates Acute Stress Responses to Castration in Calves. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 11: 1574-1577.