Characterization of short- and long-term mechanical sensitisation following surgical tail amputation in pigs

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  • Pierpaolo Di Giminiani, Newcastle University
  • ,
  • Sandra A. Edwards, Newcastle University
  • ,
  • Emma M. Malcolm, Newcastle University
  • ,
  • Matthew C. Leach, Newcastle University
  • ,
  • Mette S. Herskin
  • Dale Sandercock, Scottish Rural University College (SRUC), Edinburgh, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Commercial pigs are frequently exposed to tail mutilations in the form of preventive husbandry procedures (tail docking) or as a result of abnormal behaviour (tail biting). Although tissue and nerve injuries are well-described causes of pain hypersensitivity in humans and in rodent animal models, there
is no information on the changes in local pain sensitivity induced by tail injuries in pigs. To determine the temporal profile of sensitisation, pigs were exposed to surgical tail resections and mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) were measured in the acute (one week post-operatively) and in the long-term (either eight or sixteen weeks post-surgery) phase of recovery. The influence of the degree of amputation on MNTs was also evaluated by comparing three different tail-resection treatments (intact, ‘short tail’, ‘long tail’). A significant reduction in MNTs one week following surgery suggests the occurrence of acute sensitisation. Long-term hypersensitivity was also observed in tail-resected
pigs at either two or four months following surgery. Tail amputation in pigs appears to evoke acute and sustained changes in peripheral mechanical sensitivity, which resemble features of neuropathic pain reported in humans and other species and provides new information on implications for the welfare of
animals subjected to this type of injury.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue4827
Number of pages9
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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