Media Coverage

Animals: Efficacy of a Lidocaine-Impregnated Elastrator Band for Castration and Tail Docking in Lambs

June 18, 2024


Animals Efficacy Lidocaine-Impregnated Elastrator Band

A recent research article written by Nick Allan, StarFish Bio Services Manager, and a team of researchers and published in the  MDPI journal Animals titled Efficacy of a Lidocaine-Impregnated Elastrator Band for Castration and Tail Docking in Lambs highlights a significant advancement in animal welfare practices, particularly in the sheep industry. The research, conducted under field conditions, evaluates the effectiveness of lidocaine-impregnated ligation bands (LLB) compared to conventional elastomeric bands for castration and tail docking in lambs.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Effective Pain Management: The study demonstrated that LLBs were non-inferior to control bands across most evaluated parameters. Notably, during the first week post-application, lambs treated with LLBs exhibited greater body weight gain than those with control bands. This period is recognized as the most painful following castration and tail docking.
  • Immediate Pain Relief: Research cited in the study shows that tissue lidocaine concentrations reach effective levels for pain control within 30 minutes of LLB application, suggesting immediate analgesic effects.
  • Growth and Welfare Implications: While control bands showed higher average daily gain (ADG) between days 14 to 21, the initial superior growth in LLB-treated lambs indicates better pain management during the acute phase post-procedure. This could reflect reduced pain and stress, leading to better overall welfare.
  • Casting Times: No significant differences were found in the time to tail or scrotum casting between LLB-treated and control groups, indicating that LLBs do not delay the healing process.

The study was conducted under real-world field conditions, involving the comparison of castration and tail-docking efficacy between lambs treated with LLBs and those treated with conventional bands. Researchers meticulously monitored parameters such as average daily gain, time to casting, and overall growth performance to assess the effectiveness of pain control provided by LLBs.

The findings suggest that LLBs offer a practical and effective method for farmers to manage pain during castration and tail docking, potentially enhancing animal welfare without additional labor or time costs. The study emphasizes the need for further research to compare LLBs with multimodal pain relief strategies and explore the potential of longer-acting local anesthetics like bupivacaine.

Nick Allan commented, “Our study provides evidence that lidocaine-impregnated bands can significantly improve the welfare of lambs undergoing necessary procedures like castration and tail docking. The immediate pain relief offered by LLBs could revolutionize how we approach pain management in livestock, ultimately leading to better growth performance and animal welfare.”

About Animals

Animals is an international and interdisciplinary scholarly open access journal. It publishes original research articles, reviews and communications that offer substantial new insight into any field of study that involves animals, including zoology, ethnozoology, animal science, animal ethics and animal welfare.

Editorial Staff

Prof. Dr. Clive J. C. Phillips
[email protected]

About StarFish Medical

StarFish Medical provides award-winning design, development, commercialization, and flexible manufacturing outsourcing services —100% dedicated to the medical device and life science marketplace. StarFish Medical partners with innovative companies to create and manufacture breakthrough products for a full range of medical specialty areas including: Digital Health, Cardiovascular, Neurology, Urology, Gastroenterology, Otology, Ophthalmology, and In-Vitro Diagnostics.

StarFish Medical’s technical expertise includes electronics, mechanical, software/firmware systems engineering, in addition to industrial design and human factors. Regulatory Affairs (RA) and Quality Assurance (QA) consultants at StarFish Medical provide regulatory assistance for FDA, CE Mark and Health Canada submissions. Services include QA support for setting up QMS for start-up companies with implementation at the client’s site, and assisting with ISO 13485 certification audits.

For media inquiries:

Patrick Dean, Director Marketing, StarFish Medical, [email protected]

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