Disbudding - How quickly will your calves bounce back?

Disbudding - How quickly will your calves bounce back?
By Julia Baynes, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

Disbudding calves is one of the most painful procedures performed on farm. All animals that require removal of horn buds or horn tissue require an appropriately placed and effective local anaesthetic nerve block.

Studies have shown using a local anaesthetic nerve block to prevent pain during disbudding comes into effect within 4 minutes of administration and can last up to 3-4 hours. After this point, the anaesthetic wears off and the calf begins to feel pain. This is demonstrated in the graph below.

This is why Anexa Vets recommend additional pain relief, such as a long-acting anti-inflammatory. This will provide pain relief for at least 24 hours and anti-inflammatory action for up to 3 days, long after the local anaesthetic has worn off. Studies have shown that using anti-inflammatories at disbudding not only reduce calf pain behaviour and stress levels, but lead to better growth rates after disbudding compared to calves that don’t receive these drugs.

NZ studies have also shown sedating calves for disbudding is associated with reduced stress and pain behaviour and faster recovery times. This is why Anexa Vets use this approach. It’s a quick and effective method of disbudding, and allows other jobs to be done at the same time, such as vaccinating, ear tagging, ear notching for DNA or BVD, and extra teat removal.

Do the best for your calves this season. Speak to your vet about all of the pain relief options available for disbudding.

Date Added: Wednesday, 5th August 2020