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Can Vet J. 2010 Mar;51(3):283-8.

Reduction in pain response by combined use of local lidocaine anesthesia and systemic ketoprofen in dairy calves dehorned by heat cauterization.

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  • 1Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1.


This study assessed the efficacy of ketoprofen for mitigating pain following dehorning with an electric cautery iron. Forty Holstein heifer calves, 4 to 8 wk of age, were randomized to receive a lidocaine cornual nerve block and either an injection of ketoprofen (3 mg/kg IM) or physiological saline, 10 min prior to dehorning. Cortisol was measured from serum obtained 10 min prior to dehorning and at 3 and 6 h post-dehorning. Calf behavior was video-recorded between 0 to 2, 3 to 5, and 6 to 8 h post-dehorning, and frequency of ear flicks, head shakes, head rubs, lying, standing, feeding, and grooming were recorded. Finally, 24-h intake of calf starter was recorded. There was no effect of treatment on cortisol (P > 0.1); however, ketoprofen-treated calves displayed less ear-flicks and total head behavior (P < 0.05), and tended to consume more starter (P = 0.09) than control calves. Ketoprofen is effective for mitigating behavioral effects of postsurgical pain following dehorning in 4- to 8-week-old calves.

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