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J Dairy Sci. 2013 Mar;96(3):1511-20. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5566. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

The effect of administering ketoprofen on the physiology and behavior of dairy cows following surgery to correct a left displaced abomasum.

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


Surgical correction of left displaced abomasum (LDA) is common in lactating dairy cattle. Despite the growing acceptance that abdominal surgery is painful, few cows are administered analgesia following LDA surgery. The objective of this research was to examine the effect of administering a label dose of ketoprofen on physiological and behavioral indicators of pain in dairy cattle. Holstein cows were enrolled in a field study following LDA surgery. Surgery was performed using the standing right flank (RF) approach or the paramedian (PARA) approach. Using a triple-blind randomized trial, each animal was assigned to receive either 3mg of ketoprofen/kg of body weight or saline (the equivalent volume) by intramuscular injection immediately following surgery and 24h postoperatively. Physiological parameters (heart rate, respiration rate, and rumen motility), blood β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) levels, and an assessment of cow attitude were measured on the day of surgery, and at 2 follow-up visits (visit 1=3 ± 0.9 d and visit 2=9 ± 1.2 d postsurgery; n=175). Milk production and culling were recorded for all cows enrolled in the study. Producers assessed their cows' attitudes and appetites daily for the first 3 d following surgery. A subset of cows (n=37) were fitted on the day of surgery with a 3-axis accelerometer on the hind leg to assess lying behavior. Continuous and binary outcome data were analyzed using multivariable mixed linear and mixed logistic models, respectively, with cow modeled as a random effect. Ketoprofen did not alter the physiological measures, BHBA levels, or behavioral outcomes measured. Cows subjected to RF surgery had longer lying times [model coefficient β=228.9 min; 95% confidence interval (CI): 122.2 to 335.6] in the first 3 d following surgery, and lower heart rates (β=-9.4 beats/min; 95% CI: -12 to -6.9 beats/min) at the follow-up visits, compared with animals that underwent PARA surgery. Regardless of surgical procedure, BHBA decreased from surgery day to visit 1 (β=-1.9 mmol/L; 95% CI: -2.1 to -1.7) and visit 2 (β=-2.0 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.2.2 to -1.8). Producer reports indicated that animals that received ketoprofen were more likely to begin eating when provided fresh feed during the first 3 d following surgery compared with those that received saline (odds ratio=4.8; 95% CI: 0.97 to 23.8). These results indicate that PARA surgery may be more painful relative to lying down than the RF approach. The apparent differences in appetite or attitude in cows that received ketoprofen reported by producers warrant further investigation.

Copyright © 2013 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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