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Effect of flunixin meglumine on pain-related behaviours following cautery disbudding in dairy goat kids

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 22:15 authored by Gabriela Martínez, Victor Suárez, Melissa HempsteadMelissa Hempstead, Emilio Alfaro, Luis Caro, José Alfaro
The aim of this research was to evaluate the physiological and behavioural parameters in Saanen goat kids treated with flunixin meglumine compared with no analgesic treatment after cautery disbudding using a device fueled by propane gas. At 7 days of age, 30 goat kids were randomly allocated to three groups: Sham (Sh) control, (i.e., simulating disbudding); Disbudding (Di), using thermal cauterization; Disbudding + Flunixin (DiFl), thermal cauterization + flunixin meglumine (2.2 mg/kg body weight, 15 min before treatment). Each kid was video-recorded for 30 min before and after treatment to evaluate the frequency of head shaking, head scratching, body shaking, grooming, head rubbing, jumping, running, and bleating. Blood samples were taken 30 min after disbudding to evaluate serum cortisol concentrations and white blood cell count. Heart rate (HR) and respiratory rate (RR) were measured using a stethoscope. Liveweight of goat kids was recorded at birth, -24 h and 7 days after treatment, and at 25 days of age. The mean frequency of head shaking and head scratching was higher (p = 0.0001) after disbudding in Di (37.5 ± 47.8 and 33.32 ± 31.2) group compared to Sh (3.42 ± 3.58 and 2.2 ± 1.8) and DiFl, (4.02 ± 2.76 and 4.42 ± 3.72) groups. The frequency of jumping was higher (p = 0.022) for Di (3.74 ± 2.24) than that of DiFl (0.39 ± 0.92). The remaining behaviours did not show differences (p > 0.05). HR and RR were higher (HR: p < 0.0048; RR: p < 0.035) in group Di (HR: 156 ± 13.6; RR: 66 ± 14.8) than in Sh (HR: 138 ± 8.48; RR: 55.6 ± 5.4) and in DiFl (HR: 136 ± 6.38; RR: 52.8 ± 4.13). No differences were detected between live weight, serum cortisol and white blood cell count data (p > 0.05). Results show that flunixin meglumine was effective at reducing pain-related behaviours when given at the time of disbudding.


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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2022


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


Springer Nature

Journal title

Veterinary Research Communications




Martínez, G. M., Suárez, V. H., Hempstead, M., Alfaro, E., Caro, L. C., & Alfaro, J. (2022). Effect of flunixin meglumine on pain-related behaviours following cautery disbudding in dairy goat kids. Veterinary Research Communications, 47, 159–165.

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