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Keywords:

  • animal welfare;
  • meloxicam;
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • NSAIDs);
  • oil of turpentine

Objective  To develop a lameness model to assess the efficacy of analgesics for alleviating pain, swelling and systemic signs of inflammation in sheep.

Procedures  The response to subcutaneous injection of 0.1 or 0.2 mL turpentine in a forelimb pastern (n = 4 ewes per dose) was examined at 0, 3, 6, 24, 48 and 72 h. In a second experiment, responses were measured at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 24 h in ewes receiving 0.1 mL turpentine ± meloxicam 1 mg/kg IV at 0 h (n = 6 per group). Responses measured included forceplate pressure, skin temperature, limb circumference, nociception, leucocyte count, neutrophil : lymphocyte ratio, haptoglobin and daily feed intake.

Results  Turpentine injection caused a decrease in weight borne on the treated limb, increased skin temperature, increased sensitivity at the injection site and leucocytosis by 2 h and increased limb circumference by 4 h. Weight borne and sensitivity of the injected limb returned to control levels after around 24 h, whereas tissue swelling, elevated skin temperature and elevated haptoglobin levels persisted for at least 72 h. Treatment with meloxicam improved weight borne by and tolerance to pressure exerted on the turpentine-injected limb.

Conclusions  The local and systemic signs of inflammation and pain, temporary reduction in function of the affected limb and partial amelioration of some of these changes by the dose of meloxicam used here suggest that injection of turpentine in the lower forelimb provides a suitable model for examining the efficacy of analgesics for alleviation of pain and inflammation in sheep.