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  • Author or Editor: Mogens T. Christophersen 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



To compare the extent of inflammation and catabolic collagen response in the middle carpal joints (MCJs) of healthy horses following intra-articular injection of 2% lidocaine, 2% mepivacaine, lactated Ringer solution (LRS), or 0.1% methyl parahydroxybenzoate.


17 adult horses.


In the first of 2 experiments, the left middle carpal joint (MCJ) of each of 12 horses was injected with 10 mL of 2% lidocaine (n = 3), 2% mepivacaine (3), or LRS (control; 6). After a 4-week washout period, the right MCJ of the horses that received lidocaine or mepivacaine was injected with 10 mL of LRS, and the right MCJ of horses that received LRS was injected with 10 mL of 2% lidocaine (n = 3) or 2% mepivacaine (3). In experiment 2, the left MCJ of each of 5 horses was injected with 10 mL of 0.1% methyl parahydroxybenzoate. After a 48-hour washout period, the right MCJ of each horse was injected with 10 mL of LRS. Synovial fluid (SF) samples were aseptically collected before and at predetermined times after each injection. Synovial fluid WBC count, neutrophil percentage, and total protein, neutrophil myeloperoxidase, neutrophil elastase, and Coll2-1 concentrations were compared among treatments.


Both lidocaine and mepivacaine induced SF changes indicative of inflammation and a catabolic collagen response, but the magnitude of those changes was more pronounced for lidocaine. Methyl parahydroxybenzoate did not cause any SF changes indicative of inflammation.


Results suggested that mepivacaine was safer than lidocaine for intra-articular injection in horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research