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  • Author or Editor: Casper Lindegaard x
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Objective—To compare effects of hot iron branding and microchip transponder injection regarding aversive behavioral reactions indicative of pain and inflammation in horses.

Animals—7 adult horses.

Procedures—In a randomized controlled clinical crossover study, behavioral reactions to hot iron branding and microchip transponder injection were scored by 4 observers. Local and systemic inflammation including allodynia were assessed and compared by use of physiologic and biochemical responses obtained repeatedly for the 168-hour study period. Serum cortisol concentration was measured repeatedly throughout the first 24 hours of the study. Sham treatments were performed 1 day before and 7 days after treatments.

Results—Hot iron branding elicited a significantly stronger aversive reaction indicative of pain than did microchip transponder injection (odds ratio [OR], 12.83). Allodynia quantified by means of skin sensitivity to von Frey monofilaments was significantly greater after hot iron branding than after microchip transponder injection (OR, 2.59). Neither treatment induced signs of spontaneously occurring pain that were observed during the remaining study period, and neither treatment induced increased serum cortisol concentrations. Comparison with sham treatments indicated no memory of an unpleasant event. The hot iron branding areas had significantly increased skin temperature and swelling (OR, 14.6). Systemic inflammation as measured via serum amyloid A concentration was not detected after any of the treatments.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Microchip transponder injection induced less signs of pain and inflammation and did not seem to pose a higher long-term risk than hot iron branding. Consequently, results indicated that hot iron branding does inflict more pain and should be abandoned where possible.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare the effects of intra-articular (IA) versus IV administration of morphine on local and systemic inflammatory responses in horses with experimentally induced acute synovitis.

Animals—8 horses.

Procedures—Each horse received the following 2 treatments 4 hours after synovitis was induced: IA administration of morphine (0.05 mg/kg) with IV administration of 1 mL of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution/100 kg, and IA administration of 1 mL of saline solution/100 kg with IV administration of morphine (0.05 mg/kg). Treatments were administered in randomized order with a washout period of 3 weeks between treatments. Before each treatment, aseptic synovitis was induced by injection of lipopolysaccharide into a radiocarpal joint. For the second treatment, the contralateral radiocarpal joint was selected. Joint swelling and skin temperature over the treated joints were recorded. Clinical examinations were performed, and blood WBC count, serum amyloid A (SAA) concentration, serum cortisol concentration, synovial fluid WBC count, synovial fluid total protein (TP) concentration, and synovial fluid SAA concentration were measured before and repeatedly during each of the two 168-hour study periods. Data were analyzed by use of ANOVA with repeated measures.

Results—IA administration of morphine resulted in significantly less joint swelling and lower synovial fluid TP and serum and synovial fluid SAA concentrations, and blood WBC count than did IV administration of morphine.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—IA administration of morphine exerted anti-inflammatory properties in horses with experimentally induced acute synovitis, supporting its use as a part of a balanced analgesic protocol.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research