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Publication type: Diploma Thesis

Year: 2010

Author(s): Mangeng, Julia

Title: Untersuchungen zur CO2/O2-Narkose bei der Saugferkelkastration mit einem kommerziell verfügbaren Gerät.

Other title: Investigation about CO2/O2 narcosis for the castration of suckling piglets using a commercially available device

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 33.


Ritzmann Mathias

Auer Ulrike

Vetmed Research Units:
University Clinic for Swine

Graduation date: 14.12.10

Introduction: Approximately 100 Million male piglets are castrated in the European Union every year (JÄGGIN et al., 2006; HEINRITZI et al., 2008). The surgical intervention is jet necessary to avoid boar taint that may cause an unpleasant change in taste and odour of the meat and meat products of entire males (BINDER et al., 2004). However, the conventional method without anaesthesia / analgesia is criticized by various stakeholders all over Europe. Multiple options of anaesthesia and / or analgesia as well as methods without castration are discussed (BORRELL et al., 2008). The Netherlands decided to use CO2 to anaesthetize piglets for castration. The narcotic effect of higher CO2 concentrations, with a rapid loss of consciousness and good analgesia, is described in literature (LAUER, 1994; KOHLER et al. 1998; SVENDSON, 2006; GERRITZEN et al., 2008). By measuring behaviour during and after castration / handling the CO2-anaesthesia is evaluated as an alternative to conventional castration administered by a commercially available device. Materials and Methods: A total of 80 piglets, three to six days of age, were included in this study. They were divided in four different treatment groups. According the group piglets were castrated or only restraint after inhaling 70% CO2 and 30% O2 for 45 s (group KN and HN), or castrated or only restraint without anaesthesia (group K and H). The MS Pigsleeper® (Fa. Schippers GmbH, Kerken, Germany) was used for the application of the gas mixture. Every piglet remained restraint in the castration device during induction (45s) and castration (15s) period, regardless their treatment group. Defensive movements, measured in duration and intensity, were analysed during induction and castration period. At the beginning of the castration period piglets were tested for their surgical tolerance, by cutting the skin or testing the dew claw reflex, respectively. Additionally defensive movements and vocalisation were documented during castration period. After the manipulation the behaviour of every piglet was individually observed for five minutes. Results and Discussion: During induction the duration and intensity of the defensive movements were higher in piglets inhaling CO2. In both groups with CO2-anaesthesia the duration and intensity of the defensive movements during castration period were lower when compared to the corresponding groups without narcosis (H / HN; K / KN), but in spite of the narcosis, defensive movements were still recognized in some piglets and one quarter of the piglets, castrated with CO2, showed vocalisation during castration. Furthermore half of the piglets with CO2-anaesthesia had no surgical tolerance. The induction of deep narcosis with CO2 with the device used in this study was not achieved. Piglets of both groups with CO2- anaesthesia behaved less active after manipulation. They showed a slight reduction in changing the position and stimulating the udder when compared to the corresponding groups without narcosis. Several other behavioural abnormalities could only or almost exclusively be observed in groups with CO2-anaesthesia. This includes gasping, cramps, loss of balance and licking. The analysed parameters showed that the narcosis with CO2 using the MS Pigsleeper did not lead to a satisfactory anaesthesia. Compared to the conventional castration, CO2-narcosis can not be recommended to castrate piglets routinely.

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