Effects of local anesthetic and a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug on pain responses of dairy calves to hot-iron dehorning

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
M. Stewart, J. M. Stookey, K. J. Stafford, C. B. Tucker, A. R. Rogers, S. K. Dowling, G. A. Verkerk, A. L. Schaefer, J. R. Webster
Journal of Dairy Science
, , ,

This study examined the effects of a nonsteroidal antiinfiammatory agent (NSAID) on physiologieal responses of calves immediately after hot-iron dehorning (DH) and during the time that local anesthetic (LA) wears off (2 to 3 h) after this procedure. Forty-six calves (33 ± 0.3 d of age) were randomly assigned to G treatments: hot-iron DH versus sham DH with either no pain mitigation, LA alone, or LA with NSAID (i.v. Meloxicam). Eye temperature (measured using infrared thermography) was recorded every 5 min for 3 h after treatments. Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were recorded continuously; for analysis of HRV, short segments of 512 interbeat intervals were examined. After DH without LA or NSAID, HR increased by 35 ± 3.0 beats/min in the first 5 niin and remained elevated above baseline for 3 h. The HRV around the time of DH did not differ between treatments; however, the root mean square of successive differences decreased from 68 to 41 ± 12.6 ms immediately following DH without pain relief, suggesting a decrease in vagal tone at this time. Between 2 and 3 h following DH with LA, there was a decrease in eye temperature (-0.6 ± O.TC), an increase in HR (8 ± 3.0 beats per min) and changes in HRV. Changes in HRV at this time included a decreased high-frequency power and an increase in the low-frequency power and low-frequency/high-frequency ratio, indicating a change in sy m pat ho-vagal balance. The changes in eye temperature, HR, and HRV between 2 and 3 h following DH with LA indicated the onset of pain coinciding with the time that the LA effects wear off. In addition, this study demonstrated that the combination of LA and NSAID mitigated the onset of pain responses when the LA wanes.


Back to Resources