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      Pharmacokinetics and effect of intravenous meloxicam in weaned Holstein calves following scoop dehorning without local anesthesia


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          Dehorning is a common practice involving calves on dairy operations in the United States. However, less than 20% of producers report using analgesics or anesthetics during dehorning. Administration of a systemic analgesic drug at the time of dehorning may be attractive to dairy producers since cornual nerve blocks require 10 – 15 min to take effect and only provide pain relief for a few hours. The primary objectives of this trial were to (1) describe the compartmental pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in calves after IV administration at 0.5 mg/kg and (2) to determine the effect of meloxicam (n = 6) or placebo (n = 6) treatment on serum cortisol response, plasma substance P (SP) concentrations, heart rate (HR), activity and weight gain in calves after scoop dehorning and thermocautery without local anesthesia.


          Plasma meloxicam concentrations were detectable for 50 h post-administration and fit a 2-compartment model with a rapid distribution phase (mean T ½α = 0.22 ± 0.087 h) and a slower elimination phase (mean T ½β = 21.86 ± 3.03 h). Dehorning caused a significant increase in serum cortisol concentrations and HR (P < 0.05). HR was significantly lower in the meloxicam-treated calves compared with placebo-treated calves at 8 h (P = 0.039) and 10 h (P = 0.044) after dehorning. Mean plasma SP concentrations were lower in meloxicam treated calves (71.36 ± 20.84 pg/mL) compared with control calves (114.70 ± 20.84 pg/mL) (P = 0.038). Furthermore, the change in plasma SP from baseline was inversely proportional to corresponding plasma meloxicam concentrations (P = 0.008). The effect of dehorning on lying behavior was less significant in meloxicam-treated calves (p = 0.40) compared to the placebo-treated calves (P < 0.01). Calves receiving meloxicam prior to dehorning gained on average 1.05 ± 0.13 kg bodyweight/day over 10 days post-dehorning compared with 0.40 ± 0.25 kg bodyweight/day in the placebo-treated calves (p = 0.042).


          To our knowledge, this is the first published report examining the effects of meloxicam without local anesthesia on SP, activity and performance of calves post-dehorning. These findings suggest that administration of meloxicam alone immediately prior to dehorning does not mitigate signs of acute distress but may have long term physiological, behavior and performance effects.

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          Lying behavior: assessing within- and between-herd variation in free-stall-housed dairy cows.

          One of the most important design criteria for dairy cow housing is access to a comfortable lying area. Behaviors such as the time cows spend lying down and how often they lie down can be used to evaluate the quality of stalls; however, assessing lying behavior on farms can be challenging. Indices such as the cow comfort index (CCI) and stall use index (SUI) have been widely used in on-farm assessments. The aims were to establish reliable sampling and recording methods for measuring lying behavior, to evaluate the adequacy of the CCI and SUI as estimates of lying behavior, and to describe variation in the lying behaviors of free-stall-housed dairy cows. The time spent lying down and the number of lying bouts for 2,033 cows on 43 farms were recorded for 5 d using electronic data loggers sampling at 1-min intervals. The CCI and SUI were calculated based on a single observation taken 2 h before the afternoon milking on each farm. Subsets of data were created, including 4, 3, 2, or 1 d per cow and 40, 30, 20, 10, 5, or 1 cow(s) per farm. The estimates derived from each sample size were compared with the overall means (based on 5 d and 44 cows per farm) for lying time and number of lying bouts, and the CCI and SUI were compared with the farm means of lying time, number of lying bouts, and bout duration using linear regression. Recording 30 or more cows for 3 d or more represented the overall means with high accuracy (R(2) > 0.9), but using fewer cows or fewer days per cow resulted in poorer estimates of the farm mean. The CCI and SUI showed no association with the daily lying time (h/d; R(2) < 0.01), and CCI was only weakly associated with the number of lying bouts per day (R(2) = 0.16) and bout duration (min/bout; R(2) = 0.09). Cows lay down 11.0 +/- 2.1 h/d in 9 +/- 3 bouts/d, with a bout duration of 88 +/- 30 min/bout. These values ranged from 9.5 to 12.9 h/d, 7 to 10 bouts/d, and 65 to 112 min/bout across farm means, and 4.2 to 19.5 h/d, 1 to 28 bouts/d, and 22 to 342 min/bout across individuals, showing that variation in lying behavior among individual cows within farm was greater than differences among farms.
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            Lying behavior as an indicator of lameness in dairy cows.

            Lameness is widely recognized as one of the most serious welfare and production concerns in the dairy industry. Our objectives were to evaluate the associations between lying behavior and lameness, and to determine whether lying behavior can be used as a diagnostic tool for lameness. Electronic data loggers recorded lying behavior of 1,319 cows from 28 farms at 1-min intervals for 5 d. These cows were gait scored according to a 5-point Numerical Rating System (NRS), and categorized as NRS or=3) and SEVLAME (NRS=4). Data were divided into 2 groups: 11 farms using deep-bedded stalls (DB) and 17 farms using mattress stalls (MAT). Differences in the daily lying time (h/d), frequency of lying bouts (n/d), duration of lying bouts (min/bout), and the standard deviation of bout duration (min/bout) between LAME or SEVLAME cows and those that were not were tested using mixed models. Receiver operating characteristic curves were constructed to identify behavioral thresholds to distinguish SEVLAME cows from the rest. Odds ratios for SEVLAME were estimated using logistic regression. Overall, 28.5% of cows were LAME including 7.3% that were SEVLAME. The prevalence of SEVLAME was higher on MAT farms than on DB farms (9.3+/-1.3 vs. 4.4+/-1.2%, respectively). SEVLAME cows on DB farms spent 12.8 [confidence interval (CI): 12.0 to 13.7] h/d lying down compared with 11.2 (CI: 10.7 to 11.8) h/d for cows that were not SEVLAME. These cows had longer duration of lying bouts [95.3 (CI: 84.6 to 107.3) vs. 80.3 (CI: 74.9 to 86.1) min/bout] and greater SD of bout duration [44.4 (CI: 41.1 to 48.0) vs. 50.7 (CI: 44.1 to 58.3) min/bout]. There were no behavioral differences among lameness categories on MAT farms. Within DB farms, cows with lying times >14.5 h/d had 16.2 (5.8 to 45.2) times higher odds of being SEVLAME. Cows with average lying bouts >90 min/bout were at 3.0 (1.2 to 7.4) times higher odds of being SEVLAME, and cows with average SD of bout duration >55 min/bout were at 4.1 (1.7 to 9.9) times higher odds of being SEVLAME. These results show that high lying times, long lying bouts, and variability in the duration of lying bouts were associated with lameness, and that stall surface influenced the behavioral responses of lame cows. Copyright (c) 2010 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Reducing pain after dehorning in dairy calves.

              We investigated behavioral responses after dehorning and a sham procedure in 20 Holstein calves aged 4 to 8 wk. Calves either received a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (ketoprofen) before dehorning as well as 2 and 7 h after the procedure or were assigned to a control group. All calves received a sedative (xylazine) and local anaesthetic (lidocaine) before dehorning, and responses were scored over 24 h after the procedure. After hot-iron dehorning, calves treated with ketoprofen also demonstrated little head shaking or ear flicking, but control animals demonstrated higher frequencies of these behaviors; both responses peaked 6 h after dehorning. Differences between the treatment groups remained statistically significant until 12 h (head shaking) and 24 h (ear flicking) after dehorning. A low frequency of head rubbing was observed in both treatment groups, but control calves were more frequently observed engaged in this behavior. There was no statistically significant effect of treatment on any of the other behavioral measures. Calves treated with ketoprofen also tended to gain more weight (1.2+/-0.4 kg) during the 24 h after dehorning than did control calves (0.2+/-0.4 kg). There was no effect of treatment on any of the response variables when calves were sham dehorned. These results indicate that ketoprofen mitigates pain after hot-iron dehorning in young dairy calves.

                Author and article information

                BMC Vet Res
                BMC Vet. Res
                BMC Veterinary Research
                BioMed Central
                1 September 2012
                : 8
                : 153
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, 66506-5601, Manhattan, KS, USA
                [2 ]Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Kansas State University, 66506-5601, Manhattan, KS, USA
                [3 ]Present address: Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, 50014, Ames, IA, USA
                Copyright ©2012 Coetzee et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Veterinary medicine
                heart rate,accelerometers,substance p,performance,analgesia,meloxicam,dehorning,cortisol
                Veterinary medicine
                heart rate, accelerometers, substance p, performance, analgesia, meloxicam, dehorning, cortisol


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