Castration of piglets: the analgesic effects of intratesticular and intrafunicular lidocaine injection


Henning A Haga, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, PO Box 8146 Dep, N-0033 Oslo, Norway. E-mail:


Objective  The aim of this study was to evaluate the analgesic effect of intratesticular and intrafunicular lidocaine for the surgical castration of piglets and to investigate the degree of nociception induced by lidocaine injection.

Study design  Prospective controlled experimental study.

Animals Forty-seven male Norwegian landrace piglets with normal testicular anatomy, aged 22 (±2.6 SD) days and weighing 7.4 ± 1.4 kg.

Materials and methods  Anaesthesia was induced and maintained using halothane delivered in oxygen. End-tidal halothane was stabilized at 1.3% for 20 minutes before mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) pulse rate and electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring began. After 5 minutes of data collection, scrotal skin was desensitized with lidocaine before either an intrafunicular (IF) (n = 15) or an intratesticular (IT) (n = 16) lidocaine injection was made. Pigs in the control group (n = 16) did not receive lidocaine. Ten minutes later, a scalpel and an emasculator were used to cut the funiculus spermaticus. The MAP, pulse rate and EEG were monitored continuously for 5 minutes after castration.

Results  During castration, MAP increased significantly, while pulse rate and EEG theta power fell significantly more in control, compared with the IT or IF groups. EEG alpha power fell more in the control group than in the IF group. No significant differences were found between the IF and IT groups. EEG, MAP and pulse rate responses to castration in the control group were significantly larger than the response to lidocaine injection.

Conclusion/clinical relevance  Injecting lidocaine into the funiculus spermaticus or into the testes is effective in reducing signs of nociception caused by castration. Lidocaine injection is less noxious than castration without local anaesthetic.