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Veterinaria (Montevideo)

Print version ISSN 0376-4362On-line version ISSN 1688-4809


CAFFARENA, Rubén D.; RIET-CORREA, Franklin  and  GIANNITTI, Federico. Use of pain management procedures during disbudding/dehorning of dairy heifers: a pilot study in Uruguay and Argentina. Veterinaria (Montev.) [online]. 2018, vol.54, n.210, pp.22-26. ISSN 0376-4362.

Disbudding/dehorning is a widespread practice that facilitates handling of dairy cattle, although it causes stress and pain. To assess whether the application of pain management procedures (analgesia/anesthesia) is a common practice among veterinary practitioners from Uruguay and Argentina, an online questionnaire was distributed by e-mail to 120 veterinarians. Responses were obtained from 38 veterinarians, 94,7% (36/38) of whom either performed or indicated disbudding/dehorning in their dairy herds. Of these veterinarians, 75% (27/36) performed this practice on calves ≤8 weeks of age. In 47,2% (17/36) of cases, the procedure was performed by the calf caregiver. Approximately 53% (19/36) of the surveyed veterinarians reported a low need to administer pain-relieving drugs during minor surgical procedures, and 80,6% (29/36) did not use any type of pain-relieving medication during the procedure, primarily due to the time required for the operation (38,5%; 15/39) and cost (25,6%; 10/39) considerations. The remaining 19,4% (7/36) administered non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (42,8%; 3/7), local anesthetics (28,6%; 2/7), or a combination of both (28,7%; 2/7), out of concern for animal welfare (47,1%; 8/17) and to achieve docile and safe animal handling (29,4%; 5/17). The world market and consumers are demanding action on animal welfare. Countries of the European Union and North America have adopted pain management measures, which may soon be adopted to other exporting countries.

Keywords : animal welfare; minor surgery; dairy farming; South America; veterinary practices..

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