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Papers of the Week

2021 Dec

Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd



[Effect of a multimodal pain management protocol and age on wound healing after thermal disbudding of female German Holstein calves].


Kretschmann J, Früchtl L, Fischer M-L, Kaiser M, Müller H, Spilke J, Mielenz N, Möbius G, Bittner-Schwerda L, Steinhöfel I, Baumgartner W, Starke A
Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2021 Dec; 163(12):836-850.
PMID: 34881716.


Hot-iron disbudding of calves is a stressful and painful procedure and leaves a burn wound. Pain management procedures and the effects of hot-iron disbudding on biochemical markers of pain perception and stress response have been widely investigated in recent years. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential effects of pain management and age of the calf on the healing of burn wounds caused by disbudding. 327 healthy female German Holstein calves were included in this randomised, triple-blinded, prospective study. Calves were either disbudded at the age of four to 10 or 15 to 28 days using a gas-powered hot iron. Each calf was randomly allocated to one of nine possible treatment groups (BG). All calves received either the active ingredients to be tested (xylazine hydrochloride with 0.2 or 0.05 mg / kg body mass (BM) intramuscular for sedation, procaine hydrochloride (2 %) each 8 ml locally on both sides subcutaneously (SC) to the cornual nerves, meloxicam with 0,5 mg / kg BM SC for anti-inflammatory purposes) or an identical amount of saline solution (placebo). Calves in the group `thermE` and `ScheinE` received only placebo. In group `ScheinE` disbudding was simulated and in `thermE` it was carried out. The calves were clinically monitored starting one day before and ending 28 days after the procedure and the burn wounds were assessed. Both the rectal temperature and parameters of wound healing changed significantly during the study period and had characteristic profiles over time. Wound healing was not influenced by the different analgesic protocols, indicating that a multimodal analgesia does not pose a risk for wound healing after thermal disbudding. There were no observed differences between the age groups. The results of this study show, that disbudding of young calves and a multimodal pain management protocol does not affect wound healing in calves.