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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Effects of Analgesia on Behavior and Heart Rate During Dehorning in Calves

Authors
item Marchant Forde, R - DE MONTFORT UNIV,UK
item Weary, D - UNIV OF BC,CANADA
item Marchant-Forde, Jeremy

Submitted to: International Society of Applied Ethology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 24, 2002
Publication Date: August 7, 2002
Citation: MARCHANT FORDE, R.M., WEARY, D.M., MARCHANT FORDE, J.N. THE EFFECTS OF ANALGESIA ON BEHAVIOR AND HEART RATE DURING DEHORNING IN CALVES. INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF APPLIED ETHOLOGY. 2002.

Technical Abstract: This study aimed to examine whether a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Ketoprofen) reduces post-operative distress in hot-iron dehorned calves. Twenty Holstein calves, 4-8 weeks old, were assigned to either; dehorning with pre- and post-operative Ketoprofen (Trt 1) or, dehorning without Ketoprofen (Trt 2). All calves underwent a sham dehorning before being dehorned 72 hours later. During sham and actual dehorning, Trt 1 received Ketoprofen in milk whereas Trt 2 just received milk. Two hours after first Ketoprofen administration, calves on both treatments were injected with Xylazine sedative and local anaesthetic, Lidocaine. Once this had taken effect, the dehorning iron was applied, either cold (sham) or at 600°C (actual). Behaviour and cardiac activity was recorded for 12, 30-min, periods over 11 days. Pre-procedure, there were no differences in activity levels between treatments. However, immediately after first Ketoprofen administration, Trt 1 were more active (P<0.05). Activity decreased (P<0.05) after dehorning and remained depressed for 7d post-dehorning, but did not differ between treatments. Trt 2 calves were more vocal for 3d post-dehorning (P<0.05). HR was not affected by treatment but did decrease significantly after both sham and actual dehorning. At 6h, 1d, and 3d post-dehorning, HR tended to be elevated but returned to baseline values by 7d post-dehorning. Time domain measures of heart rate variability (HRV) indicated that Trt 2 had lower levels of overall HRV immediately post-dehorning (P<0.05), suggesting lower parasympathetic input into cardiac control. There were some effects of treatment on vocal response which suggests that Ketoprofen may help reduce immediate post-operative pain. However, this was short lived (24h). The trends in cardiac activity also indicate few long-term benefits. Overall, behavioural responses suggest that some post-operative distress may still be evident at 7d post-dehorning whereas cardiac activity returns to near normal levels at 3d post-procedure. Ketoprofen helps to reduce some immediate post-dehorning distress but this distress may persist for up to 7d after dehorning.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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