Calves bounce back faster

Twenty years ago understanding of cow comfort was very different – there were virtually no scientific standards to measure well-being in farm animals. This encouraged Boehringer Ingelheim to study the impact of their long-acting anti-inflammatory pain relief Metacam® on reducing the pain associated with these essential farming procedures.

Today, this research has led to understanding that a procedure like disbudding will produce an acute pain response followed by inflammatory pain that extends well beyond the reach of a local anaesthetic. Disbudding pain can last for three days after the initial procedure.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association recommends a combination of products: a local anaesthetic, a non-steroidal pain reliever and sedation, as the best approach. James Laidlaw, Boehringer Ingelheim animal health veterinarian, says the need to offer a wider suite of pain relief treatments than just the one required under the code of welfare makes sense, given the pain ranking a procedure like disbudding has.

“It is one of the more painful routine practices performed on farms, with the pain occurring in two main phases. One is the initial response immediately after disbudding. The other is the inflammatory phase, which is more prolonged and extends beyond both this initial phase and the effects of local anaesthetic.”

Combining a local anaesthetic and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relief treatment when disbudding has proven the two can have a highly positive impact on the animal’s overall pain experience.

“The use of a non-steroidal treatment helps mitigate the inflammatory pain that invariably occurs once the local has worn off.”

But not all non-steroidal pain management drugs are equal.

Research with Metacam has shown it to be one of the most effective at dealing with inflammatory pain, helping to manage and minimise pain in cattle for up to three days after a single injection, covering the period when disbudding pain can last.

“Studies looking at Metacam globally have shown a single injection 10 minutes prior to disbudding can provide genuine long-term pain relief for these calves, having a significant impact on their comfort and recovery afterwards.”

Further work has also revealed evidence that pain management during disbudding can be associated with better daily weight gains during the recovery phase, and increased milk intake.

James says NZ farmers cantake pride in their approach to recognising that animals experience pain, and for taking steps to help mitigate that pain.

MORE? Talk to the Boehringer Ingelheim team about Metacam for your calves this disbudding season.

See product label for full claim details and directions for use.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health New Zealand Ltd. Level 3, 2 Osterley Way, Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand. METACAM® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, used under licence.
Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 | Nos. A007982 & A011754. Restricted veterinary medicine: available only under a veterinary authorisation.