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Welfare impact of local anesthetic injection and subsequent castration in young piglets – conclusions for animal welfare and pain recording

PhD defence, Monday 16 January 2023. Mathilde Pauline Coutant.

Mathilde Pauline Coutant
Photography of a piglet in the castration bench. The piglet is restrained in the bench and the local anesthetic is injected into the testes. Piglet responses to the injection and subsequent castration were assessed using audio and video parameters, reporting vocal responses and foreleg movements, analyzed using novel methodologies of pain recording developed by Mathilde.

During her studies, Mathilde focused on quantifying the efficacy of a procaine-based local anesthetic to mitigate piglet pain in response to castration, recording piglet responses to injection of the anesthetic, castration, and in the minutes following the procedure. In order to compare different methods of administrating the local anesthetic and evaluate their impact on piglet welfare, Mathilde developed novel methods of recording pain and stress in young piglets, focusing on physiological, behavioural, and motivational aspects of pain. 

The research findings contribute to documenting the welfare impact of castration and the relevance of local anesthesia to relieve piglet pain during and after the procedure, while providing new insights into the recording of pain and stress in neonate piglets.

The PhD degree was completed at the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences (ANIVET), Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Monday 16 January 2023 at 13:00

Place: 8814-3075, Auditorium, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Blichers Alle 20, Aarhus University, 8830 Tjele.

Title of dissertation: Evaluation of local anesthesia for surgical castration of piglets - how to quantify pain and stress?

Contact information: Mathilde Coutant, e-mail: Mathilde.coutant@anivet.au.dk, tel.: +45 52 22 52 54

Members of the assessment committee:

Adjunct Professor Laura Hänninen, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland - Research Centre for Animal Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Professor Jean-Loup Rault, Institute of Animal Welfare Science, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria

Associate professor Janne Winther Christensen (chair), Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Main supervisor:

Senior Researcher Mette S. Herskin, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Co-supervisor:

Senior Researcher Jens Malmkvist, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English.

The defence is public.              
The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Technical Sciences/GSTS, Jens Baggesens Vej 53, building 5221, 8200 Aarhus N.

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