The stress caused by laparoscopy in sheep and its alleviation

The stress caused by laparoscopy in sheep and its alleviation
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To determine the plasma cortisol response to laparoscopy in ewes and investigate means of reducing it.
METHODS: Ewes without lambs at foot (n=40) were subjected to one of three control or one laparoscopy treatments (n=10 ewes/treatment), being: no restraint or drugs; acepromazine maleate (ACP) control and no restraint; ACP and restraint in a cradle for 5 min; and laparoscopy following ACP. Additional ewes with lambs at foot (n=30) were subjected to: laparoscopy following ACP; laparoscopy following ACP and ketoprofen; and laparoscopy following detomidine. Drugs were injected 20 min before treatment, after a first blood sample had been taken. Blood samples were taken by jugular venepuncture from the ewes 20 min before treatment and at 20, 40, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 min after treatment, while all ewes were held in a pen. Plasma was harvested and assayed for its concentration of cortisol.
RESULTS: Plasma cortisol concentrations (PCC) remained constant in ewes in the control restraint group for 80 min. In ewes given ACP, PCC increased for the first 20 min after treatment but then returned to pre-treatment concentrations. PCC of ewes given ACP and restrained in a cradle were elevated above pre-treatment concentrations for 90 min. PCC in ewes subjected to laparoscopy following sedation with ACP increased to a peak at 40 min and returned to pre-treatment concentrations after 60 (with lambs) or 120 (without lambs) min. When ACP and ketoprofen were given before laparoscopy, PCC peaked at 20 min and returned to pre-treatment concentrations by 40 min. PCC of ewes given detomidine before laparoscopy remained at pre-treatment concentrations throughout. PCC of ewes subjected to laparoscopy with ACP sedation only were greater than those of control restraint, ACP control, and ewes subjected to laparoscopy after being given ketoprofen or detomidine between 20 and 60 min after treatment. PCC of ewes subjected to laparoscopy were greater than those of control ewes placed in a cradle at 20 and 40 min. PCC of ewes given ketoprofen were lower than those of ewes subject to laparoscopy following ACP.
CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopy, even after sedation with ACP, caused some distress in ewes, as evidenced by increased plasma cortisol levels. Plasma cortisol response was alleviated by the administration of ketoprofen and eliminated by detomidine, probably because of both analgesic and sedative effects of the latter drug.
KEY WORDS: Sheep, laparoscopy, acepromazine, detomidine, ketoprofen, cortisol response, stress

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