Pain in lambs castrated at 2 days using novel smaller and tighter rubber rings without and with local anaesthetic

V Molony, JE Kent, I Vinuela-Fernandez, C Anderson, CM Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Without effective pain relief, rubber ring castration of lambs is acutely painful and can also produce chronic pain. The potential of novel, smaller rubber rings to reduce this pain substantially has been investigated. Three groups of eight 2–3 day old lambs, were castrated either with conventional rubber rings (cRR), or novel smaller rubber rings without (nRR) and with local anaesthetic treatment (nRR + La). Behavioural responses and chronic lesions indicative of pain were compared. No major reductions in behavioural responses were produced by castration with nRRs compared with cRRs, but injection of local anaesthetic did reduce these responses significantly. Lambs in all groups developed chronic inflammatory lesions but behavioural evidence of chronic pain was rarely seen. After 28 days, 6/8 necrotic scrotums had been shed by nRR + La; 4/8 by nRR and 2/8 by cRR lambs. The dimensions of rubber rings on necrotic scrotums, suggest that cRRs contracted to their un-stretched size before being shed, whereas nRRs did not. It is concluded that neither of these rubber rings exerted sufficient pressure on trapped nerves to produce anaesthesia rapidly and this may be explained by the physical properties of the tissues at the neck of the scrotum which support the ring. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81 - 86
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Journal
Publication statusFirst published - 2012

Bibliographical note



  • Castration
  • Lambs
  • Pain
  • Rubber ring castration method


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