Electroejaculation increased vocalization and plasma concentrations of cortisol and progesterone, but not substance P, in beef bulls
Electroejaculation is a reliable method of obtaining a semen sample for a bull breeding soundness examination, but is sometimes regarded as painful. Substance P is a neuropeptide involved in the integration of pain, stress, and anxiety. We hypothesized that substance P is a measure of pain in bulls following electroejaculation. The specific objective was to compare vocalization and plasma concentrations of cortisol, progesterone, and substance P immunoreactivity in bulls following electroejaculation. Nine Angus bulls (501.9 +/- 14.3 kg) were used. Blood samples were collected at -60, -30, 0, 2, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120 min relative to treatment. At Time 0, bulls were subject to electroejaculation, rectal probe insertion without electroejaculation, or no manipulation. Treatments were administered contemporaneously to three bulls. Treatments were repeated weekly until each bull had received each treatment in a 3 X 3 Latin square design. More bulls (P = 0.0147) in the electroejaculation group vocalized (5 of 9 bulls; 55.6%) when compared to controls (0 of 9 bulls; 0%). Mean plasma cortisol and progesterone concentration following electroejaculation in bulls were higher (P<0.05) than concentrations in probed and control bulls through the 45 min sample. However, mean plasma substance P concentration following electroejaculation in bulls (77.2 +/- 17.2 pg/mL) was not different (P = 0.6264) from probed (79.1 +/- 17.2 pg/mL) or control bulls (93.4 +/- 17.2 pg/mL). A significant increase in vocalization and plasma cortisol and progesterone concentrations in bulls following electroejaculation was likely owing to acute stress. However, the lack of a difference in plasma concentrations of substance P after electroejaculation was interpreted as a lack of pain associated with nociception.
Brian K. Whitlock, Elizabeth A. Coffman, Johann F. Coetzee, and Joseph A. Daniel. "Electroejaculation increased vocalization and plasma concentrations of cortisol and progesterone, but not substance P, in beef bulls" Theriogenology (2012).