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Publication - Dr Richard Parker

    Effects of carprofen, meloxicam and butorphanol on broiler chickens’ performance in mobility tests


    Hothersall, B, Caplen, GJ, Parker, RMA, Nicol, CJ, Waterman-Pearson, AE, Weeks, CA & Murrell, JC, 2016, ‘Effects of carprofen, meloxicam and butorphanol on broiler chickens’ performance in mobility tests’. Animal Welfare, vol 25., pp. 55-67


    Lame broiler chickens perform poorly in standardised mobility tests and
    have nociceptive thresholds that differ from those of non-lame birds,
    even when confounding factors such as differences in bodyweight are
    accounted for. This study investigated whether these altered responses
    be due to pain, by comparing performance in a Group Obstacle test and a
    Latency to Lie (LTL) test of lame (Gait Score [GS] 2.5–4) and non-lame
    (GS 0–1) broilers administered analgesia or a saline control. We used
    exploratory subcutaneous doses of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
    drugs (NSAIDs), meloxicam (5 mg kg–1) or carprofen (35 mg kg–1) or the opioid butorphanol tartrate (4 mg kg–1).
    We included butorphanol to explore the possibility that NSAIDs could
    improve mobility by reducing inflammation without necessarily
    invoking an analgesic effect. Lameness was a significant predictor in
    all analyses. Neither the number of obstacle crossings nor latency to
    cross an obstacle was significantly changed by either NSAID, but LTL was
    longer in lame birds given carprofen and meloxicam than in lame birds
    given saline.
    LTL was associated with foot-pad dermatitis and ameliorated by both
    NSAIDs. Butorphanol did not affect LTL but appeared soporific in the
    obstacle test, increasing latency to cross and, in non-lame birds,
    reducing the number of crossings. Combined with data from other studies,
    the results suggest
    carprofen and meloxicam had some analgesic effect on lame birds, lending
    further support to concerns that lameness compromises broiler welfare.
    Further investigation of opioid treatments and lameness types is needed
    to disentangle effects on mobility and on pain.

    Full details in the University publications repository