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The effectiveness of clove oil and cautery disbudding methods on preventing horn growth in dairy goat kids

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posted on 2023-05-03, 15:56 authored by Melissa HempsteadMelissa Hempstead, Joseph Waas, Mairi Stewart, Vanessa Cave, Amanda Turner, Mhairi Sutherland
The effectiveness of clove oil and cautery disbudding (i.e. horn buds removed vs. left intact) on horn growth were evaluated in goat kids. The study used 243 Saanen doe kids (4±1.0 days old; mean±SD) on two commercial dairy goat farms. Kids were disbudded with either (i) clove oil injection (CLOVE), (ii) a cautery iron and bud removed (BUDOFF), or (iii) a cautery iron with bud left intact (BUDON). Each kid received a different treatment per bud, which were balanced between buds (left and right) and randomly allocated. A trained observer monitored bud growth following treatment for 3 months using the following: N: no growth, H: normal horn, S: abnormal horn (scur), or SC: soft, fibrous lump (scorn). After the final observation, buds were assessed for the probability of success (no growth), scurs, horns or scorns [with 95% CI]. The probability of success for BUDOFF (0.77 [0.63,0.87]) was higher than for BUDON (0.20 [0.11,0.34]) and CLOVE (0.09 [0.04,0.18]; P ≤ 0.05). Furthermore, the probability of success for BUDON was higher than for CLOVE (P ≤ 0.05). The probability of scurs was higher for CLOVE (0.72 [0.63,0.80]) than BUDOFF (0.25 [0.17,0.34]) and BUDON (0.30 [0.21,0.39]; P ≤ 0.05). There was no difference in the probability of scurs for BUDOFF and BUDON (P > 0.05). The probability of horns was higher for CLOVE (0.21 [0.15,0.29]) than BUDON (0.02 [0.01,0.06]; P ≤ 0.05); horns were not observed for BUDOFF. The probability of scorns for BUDON was 0.41 (0.25,0.60), which was the only treatment with scorns. These results suggest that BUDOFF was more effective at preventing growth than CLOVE and BUDON and appears the most effective method for disbudding kids of the methods tested. Future research should explore alternatives that are efficacious, as well as pain mitigation strategies to reduce pain associated with cautery disbudding.


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© 2018 Hempstead et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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Hempstead, M. N., Waas, J. R., Stewart, M., Cave, V. M., Turner, A. R., & Sutherland, M. A. (2018). The effectiveness of clove oil and cautery disbudding methods on preventing horn growth in dairy goat kids. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0198229. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0198229


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