The aim of the study was to assess pain in Bos indicus bull calves following surgical castration. Forty-two animals were randomised to four groups: no castration (NC, n = 6); castration with pre-operative lidocaine (CL, n = 12); castration with pre-operative meloxicam (CM, n = 12); and, castration alone (C, n = 12). Bodyweight was measured regularly and pedometers provided data on activity and rest from day -7 (7 days prior to surgery) to 13. Blood was collected for the measurement of serum amyloid A (SAA), haptoglobin, fibrinogen, and iron on days 0, 3 and 6. Bodyweight and pedometry data were analysed with a mixed effect model. The blood results were analysed with repeated measure one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). There was no treatment effect on bodyweight or activity. The duration of rest was greatest in the CM group and lowest in the C group. There was a significant increase in the concentrations of SAA, haptoglobin, and fibrinogen in all of the groups from day 0 to 3. Iron concentrations were not different at the time points it was measured. The results of this study suggest that animals rest for longer periods after the pre-operative administration of meloxicam. The other objective assessments measured in this study were not able to consistently differentiate between treatment groups.
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