WPT University Place: Managing Pain in Youngstock


– My name is Dr. Sandy Stuttgen. I am the UW-Extension
Agriculture Agent
from Taylor County. Prior to my joining
UW-Extension, I practiced for 18 years as a large
animal, predominantly dairy veterinarian from
Clark and Marathon Counties. I was raised on a dairy farm. My husband and I
currently own a small beef operation. – And I am Doctor Sarah
Mills-Lloyd, also with UW-Extension Agriculture
Agent in Oconto County, and it is my pleasure to be
here with you today also. I do come to Extension
with eight years of our General Veterinary
Medicine, just like Sandy, and I practiced in
northeast Wisconsin. – So, for this
session, we’re going to talk about, did it move, we’re going to talk about three well-being concerns including dehorning or
disbudding, it’s not moving, tail docking, and the use
of antibiotics on farms. So, is everybody in
the room dairy based or raise your hand if
you’re dairy based. Raise your hands if you’re beef. Okay, I have more
dairy than beef. To the beef people,
I apologize, perhaps for all the dairy
pictures; however beef cattle need to
be dehorned as well. So, you will learn some things. Some beef cattle need
to be dehorned as well. So, hopefully, you will
learn some pointers from our topic. As I go forward, I
do need to extend some special thanks to
Dr. Sheila McGurck and Chelsea Hauschback
from the UW-School of Veterinary Medicine. You’re going to be
viewing some of their dehorning slides that
they use to teach students at the vet school. So, as this hard theory
(mumbles) article says as media draws attention
to our dairy industry we need to continue
to work towards humane methods for
general farm practices, including dehorning calves. Dehorning is necessary
but so are solutions to make it less painful, says the article, but why
is dehorning necessary? In the dairy industry,
it has been believed for a long time that
horned cattle have less desirable production
genetics behind them. The dairy industry
has opted to pursue milk production and growth
production over polledness. Well, the reality is
having polled animals or having horns is a
simple genetic inheritance and it is not linked
to production, and it is possible
to bring polledness back into our dairy herds. In fact, ABS Select Sires,
Accelerated Genetics, they all now have polled
sires that you can select from. There are new genomics
testings available that you can use on
your newborn calves to determine if they
carry the polled gene. Inheritance of polledness
is a simple one inherited from both the
mother and from the sire. The polled gene is
the dominant gene. Having horns is a
recessive trait. As long as the calf
inherits one polled gene, the calf will be polled. So, if we look at
this picture, we have two cattle on top,
the sire and the dam. Both of them are polled. They were not dehorned before
this picture was taken. If we look at the
genetics of the sire, he has a homozygous pair of polled genes. He inherited polledness
from both his parents. The dam on the other
hand is a heterozygous polled animal. She inherited the polled
gene from one parent but she also inherited
the horn gene from the other parent,
but the polledness is dominant. So, she looks polled. If you mate these two,
all of their calves will look polled. For some of you who’ve studied genetics in class,
you may have seen some of these 4 X 4 tables, and the second item
listed on this table is exactly what we just
saw with that picture of that sire and that dam. The homozygous polled sire mated to that heterozygous
polled female. 100% of those calves are gonna look polled but
50% actually have both polled genes and 50% still carry the horn gene. So, it’s gonna
take time, but you can accomplish
this by continuing to mate for pollness. Eventually, you
will get to a herd that does not have
to be dehorned or disbudded any longer. The polled dairy cattle genetics can be found listed on
this website by breed. So it is possible
for you to find these animals. – So, just as a little
overview on dehorning. Horns are the major
cause of carcass wastage due to bruising. Cattle with horns
actually incur financial penalties on sale,
and dehorned cattle require actually
less feeding space. So, removing those
horns are a good task to prevent injuries to
people and to cattle. Dehorned cattle
also exhibit fewer aggressive patterns
of dominance behavior over cattle with horns. As a general overview,
dehorning is actually a process of which there’s
two different types. We actually can remove
the bud in disbudding or we can do dehorning. Horns are an adaptation of skin, and that skin
originates from germinal tissue called corium. That corium then processes and then becomes the
horn as they grow, and with that, when
we remove the horn in the early stages of growth, we refer to that as
disbudding verses dehorning as we let that horn grow,
we then will have that horn, that horn bud
actually attaching to the periosteum
of the frontal bone and on top of the frontal sinus. So, as you know when
the cattle become older, what happens then
is that that frontal sinus will extend
up into the horn and will create a
void in that horn. With that then,
there’s consequences of us dehorning at
later stages in life, and the stages of this dehorning would cause then
sinusitis, which is an infection in
that sinus because we’re exposing it
to the environment. Also then with
that, we would have a prolongation in wound healing and also infection with that. We need to dehorn
at an early age because as you can
see, it’s never too early to not dehorn that animal, and we really need
to remove that horn before six weeks of age, before that horn bud
actually attaches to the periosteum of that bone, and on the pictures
that depict this on the slides, you
can see that there are two different pictures here. One denotes a one to
three-day old calf, of which that horn
bud is not present verses the two to
four-month old calf that you can actually
see the horn bud that has attached
and become a bony prominence on the
top on the poll of that animal. There are many different methods of dehorning. One is actually using a
hot iron disbudding tool and they come in a couple
different varieties. One variety is through
a butane dehorner as noted here. We would also have an electrical disbudding tool
and both of these would be selected for the size of the horn that you
are trying to disbud. They are very common
and reliable tools that we would use; however,
it is still painful for the animal. There is a momentary
pain degradation because of the thermal
injury that you are applying to that
horn and if excess thermal heat is
applied to that horn you can actually
cause thermal injury burns to the bony structures lying underneath of them. Another tool that
we have is actually a scoop or dehorning spoon. This is actually
a Barnes dehorner, and the Barnes dehorner
is a tool to use; however, it takes not only just the corium because
we need to remove the corium in addition
to remove that horn for the
longevity of the life of that animal,
but with this tool, we also take additional
surrounding skin, which will cause other
pain for that animal. Another tool that we
can use would be paste. Caustic paste is used
on younger calves; however, there is a
potential for damage to surrounding tissues,
especially the eyes, skin surrounding that
tissue, and also the ears. So, we need to remember
that when we’re dehorning animals with younger, as younger animals
with the paste. Another process that you can use is actually elastic bands. These elastic
bands would tighten down on the horn and it actually causes trauma to that animal. It’s a pain sensation that they will feel and if you’ve ever witnessed this, you can actually see the head tilt,
that they incur because of the
elastic bands placed on those horns. Dehorning is important,
and it’s important to also incorporate
your veterinarian into the process of
the pain management tools that you have, as
many of the prescription drugs that are used
for this are needing to be prescribed to
you by a veterinarian, and you need to have
a valid veterinary client-patient relationship. Prescription products
include the local anesthesia, which is
Lidocaine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, which
Sandy will talk about that, and also sedation
using Xylazine. Your veterinarian would
also help you practice this technique on
your farm operation because it does
require some tools to use this and
use them properly. Before we even clip the
hair, the first thing we need to do is restrain the
animal by using a halter. The next thing that
we would need to do would be to clip that
hair around the horn base in order to best
visualize that horn bud. So, clipping the area is
essential if you’re using pasty dehorning, but it’s also helpful with any dehorning method
as you’re preventing that hair from matting
and then thus then reducing that risk of
infection, which is potentially could be there. Sedation is optional,
however, it can make the process of what
you do for yourself and for the animal much easier. The thing we need
to remember is that it takes about 5 to 10 minutes after the administration
of the medication for that adequate
sedation to incur. So, typically, we
would use Xylazine. Xylazine requires then a
veterinary prescription. So, you need to have
that veterinary valid client-patient
relationship, and it also would incur some
meat withhold time. The meat withhold
time established at this current
practice right now is four days. The next thing you need to do is if you are using
sedation, you need to observe that
animal very closely until they’re able to stand. Xylazine can cause
respiratory depression and so we wanna
make sure that that animal is safe before
we leave it on its own. There is another way
that can we actually reverse it by using
Tolazine, which is a Xylazine reversal
medication but that too requires a veterinary
patient relationship through a veterinary
prescription and a four-day meat withhold. – Sedation alone does not block the pain of the disbudding or the dehorning procedure. In order to accomplish that, we do need to numb the nerve. We need to provide
local anesthesia to the nerve that
innervates the horn, and that nerve is called
the cornual nerve. It is a branch of the
fifth trigeminal nerve. So, we accomplish this
by injecting Lidocaine halfway between the
eye and the horn, and we put that Lidocaine
in a subcutaneous injection underneath
the frontal ridge. So, we locate where
the cornual nerve is by palpating that frontal ridge formed by our frontal
bone, which is like our cheekbone. We locate it halfway
between the lateral canthus or the outside
aspect of the eye, the part of the
eye that’s closer to the ear, and we
draw a line from that up to the base of the horn. We locate a halfway
point between that and that frontal bony ridge. Palpate that and then we inject 2 cc of 2% Lidocaine
solution under the skin. You use a very fine
needle for this. A 20 or 22-gauge
needle is ideal. Using the Lidocaine, again,
it’s a prescription product. Your veterinarian would
be the one who would allow you to have this
drug, and then your veterinarian can
also show you how to put the block in. Lidocaine itself does have
a 1-day meat withdrawal. (mumbles) For older calves,
sometimes, you will need to put additional
local anesthetic around the base of the horn, where the cornual
nerve becomes more superficial again. This will improve analgesia
for those horned animals. That’s represented by
that red semicircle, placing the Lidocaine behind
the actual horn itself. Once the nerve block
is in, the pain relief is almost immediately,
but you can give it a couple of minutes
just to make sure that everything
is good and numb, and while you’re doing that, you would have turned
on your dehorning equipment so that
it is good and hot and ready to go. At that point, then
you would apply your dehorning cautery in a very
appropriately-sized manner. So, you’re gonna
select the tool that fits the bud or the
horn that you’re using. You’re gonna apply
steady pressure while rotating back and forth for a couple, five
to seven seconds, and then you repeat
that on the other side. After heat
application, there will be a 2 to 3-millimeter
copper-colored ring around that entire
horn, and if you were to palpate what’s
left of the horn, that should be very easily moved by your finger. The local anesthetic
that we put in the Lidocaine abolishes
the indicators of pain for the
duration of its action, but Lidocaine wears
off, and when it does the animal will start
to exhibit pain again. Calves exhibit pain
by shaking their head, by looking uncomfortable. They rise and they lay down. They stop eating. So, it can behoove us
to go ahead and try to extend some of
that pain relief by offering some non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs. This slide lists some
of the drugs that have been used in the past. Flunixin is the
Banamine product. Phenylbutazone and
ketoprofen are both drugs that are not approved for
use in livestock today, and then there’s aspirin. Aspirin Bolus can be
used, although they have no formal FDA approval, but if you look at the
slide, you will see that the half-life of aspirin is about a half
an hour in calves. They’re gonna get pain relief for about a half an hour. Banamine will provide you about a three to a
eight-hour half-life, but when you use
Banamine, again you incur a meat withdrawal and Banamine has to be given IV. So, again your
veterinarian would have to show you how
to place Banamine in the vein of these calves, and
the Banamine then incurs the four-day meat withdrawal. So, is there something
better for analgesia? There is now currently
a drug that has been approved for humans
to treat arthritis and it’s called meloxicam. Meloxicam tablets have
100% oral bioavailability in ruminant calves. So, they work. They actually provide
a full 27 hours of pain relief. So, this means they can
be given once a day. They come in a small tablet and for a calf
that’s still on milk they’re pretty easy to give. This drug is not available
in the United States. We get it from other
countries, and in Canada the meat withdrawal is 20 days. Meloxicam does represent legal extra-label drug use. So again, you have to
use your veterinarian to get this drug,
and your veterinarian could help you with
dosing and when and how to give it. – So we realized this
talk is about pain mitigation for animal
well being; however, we would be remiss
if we didn’t mention tail docking and judicious use of antibiotics. Animal welfare aspect
of tail docking is under scrutiny. It has been promoted
and recommended in the past, even
by UW-Extension under the guides
that it has improved milk quality;
however, science does not support this use,
and major veterinary medical associations
and organizations actually oppose tail docking, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the
American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Major purchasers of fluid milk and also processors
are actually starting to oppose this practice. If you’re a national
dairy farm, farmers assuring responsible
management certified, you will need to end tail
docking by this year. If not found in compliance,
you will receive a warning to change
your practice. After the warning,
if you have not made strides to change
this action, milk processors may end
pickup for your fluid milk that you have. In this current
economic climate, are you willing
to place yourself in a position to
not have an income and try to find another
outlet for your fluid milk? These are current
milk cooperatives and cheese processors
who uphold the National FARM Program. My question to you is, is
your milk plant listed there? These include Agropur,
BelGioiso, Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms,
Grande Cheese, Grassland, Land O’Lakes, National
Farmers Organization, Saputo Cheese, and Sartori; however, alternatives to tail docking do exist. Three alternatives would
be cattle clippers, sheep shears, and
also a tail well. Cattle clippers are used to trim the switch to the
long hairs on the tail and to actually shave the tail. It is time consuming
and the blades will dull quickly,
especially if animals are bedded in sand stalls and/or they have manure
tags on their tail. Sheep shears are
readily available, and they’re very easy to use. In two to three quick snips, you’ll actually have those switches trimmed. They are easy to
resharpen; however, those sharp blades do pose risk to workers and also cattle. The tail well is a
cordless drill attachment. It’s quick and it’s
done in one single easy step of dehairing
those switches; however, it comes
with an expense, and the expense is
not only in the piece of equipment itself but
also in the maintenance of that piece of
equipment in sharpening and also in the
cordless drill batteries that you need to use. So, who is really driving
some of this change? Most consumers have
little or no animal knowledge of agriculture. There was a direct
connection to agriculture about 50 years ago,
but now we are three to four generations removed
from our agrarian society. When consumers think
of dairy farms, they envision really
old pastoral scenes of cows grazing on
grass and calves frolicking in the
field, but what does this mean for farmers? Not only are tail
docking, dehorning, and judicious use of antibiotics consumer and industry concerns, they are ours too as
producers and farmers. If your milk is sold
to milk cooperatives and cheese processors
who are national farm certified and
compliant, you may need to address the issue
of pain mitigation and management practices. Some definitions about
what and how to accomplish this on our dairy,
beef, swine, and poultry operations have already
been established for us by corporations. If you look at Nestle’s website, you can find the
written statements about farm animal
health and welfare. As stated on their
website in 2014, “We continue to build
on public commitment “to continuously
improve the health, “care, and welfare
of farm animals “and our global supply chain.” Their commitment is built around the internationally
recognized Five Freedoms established in 1965. These Five Freedoms
are the freedom from hunger, thirst,
and malnutrition, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from
physical and thermal discomfort, freedom
from pain, injury and disease, and
freedom to express normal patterns of behavior. If we look closer
at the practices they advocate, you
will find this actually on their website, and you will notice,
on the wording, it says “Some specific practices
we have committed “to eliminate include”
if we look at for cattle, it lists dehorning, tail
docking, disbudding, and castration without
anesthetic and analgesia. Pain mitigation
is their concern, and it should have been
ours as producers all along; however, now our agriculture
industry is needing to follow protocol
set for us, rather leading the charge our
self on these issues. – Antibiotics are
medications that are used to treat bacterial infections. The problem is that
bacteria are developing resistance to the
antibiotics at a faster rate than what
pharmaceutical companies are designing new antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant
bacteria is now considered to be a global,
public health threat. So, we need to
handle antibiotics as the precious
resource that they are. There are new
federal rules coming in to play this
year for how we will use antibiotics on our farm. In the past, we’ve
been allowed to use feed and water antibiotics in a way that would produce and encourage the growth and
production of animals. That use is being banned. Going forward, we have to, we can only use
antibiotics to treat and control and
prevent infections. Going forward, antibiotic use on farms will be more and more under the direction
of your veterinarian. Using our best management
practices reflected by the Five Freedoms
is what really helps us to prevent infections,
and therefore, allows us to not have
to use antibiotics, and it’s not just Nestle
who has this perspective. These points listed
here in this slide summarize Walmart’s
written statements for how they plan to
provide their customers with safe, affordable,
and sustainable food, as well as promote the
humane treatment of animals. Their written statement
is summarized by these four points,
and if you as a farmer don’t follow these four points, then perhaps Walmart
will not procure food from you. It is expected that
farmers will not tolerate and will report all
instances of animal abuse. It is expected that
farmers will adopt the Five Freedoms that
Sarah just mentioned, and that you will
implement good management practices and that you
will be transparent in what you are
doing on your farm. It is important that we explain and discuss what it is we are doing on our farms, what procedures are being
used on a daily basis, that we justify
what we are doing, including the
antibiotics that we use. Recognition of pain in
cattle is difficult. Cattle are prey animals. They will hide
the fact that they are painful, but
just because they’re not showing their pain,
that does not mean we should continue to
ignore the fact that they are painful; however, this is what we’re currently up against. There are no pain relief
drugs specifically approved for analgesia in
cattle in the United States. So, all the drugs we
use are extra-label and have to be used
under the supervision of a veterinarian. There is a time delay
between drug administration and their onset of activity. Routes of administration
can be inconvenient, like Banamine has
to be given IV. The drugs themselves can
have short half-lives. So you have to
necessitate frequent re-administration,
and then there’s these costs of these drugs,
and the cost of the meat and the milk withdrawal. We can overcome
all of these points and we will. They will all become
less cumbersome as we become more educated
and more willing to practice them
and incorporate them into our daily routines. Including polledness in
our selection indexes and in our long-term
breeding strategies has the potential to
reduce and eventually eliminate the need to dehorn. Remember, there
are things that we can do to help build our rapport with our consumer
and corporations to let them know
that we are striving to be and to do the best we can for our industry. It’ll take concerted
effort by all of us to keep moving forward
with our management practices to alleviate
animal welfare concerns. Animal welfare is not going away and nor should it, but we can be the first to incite
change rather than be dictated to,
as to what changes we will have to make. (audience applauds)

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