Carprofen and local anaesthesia in calves undergoing disbudding

Clinical Scenario

During a visit to one of your small beef herds, the owner, Mary Reader, asks you to disbud three calves that have been born within the last few weeks. The last time Mrs Reader had animals disbudded with hot iron cautery, she was upset by how the animals behaved after the procedure – she says they were “out of sorts” and looked uncomfortable.

Whilst Mrs Reader knows the animals must be disbudded, she asks you whether analgesics as well as the local anaesthetic would be likely to reduce the pain from the disbudding. You assure her you always use local anaesthetic, but you wonder if the addition of carprofen would decrease the level of discomfort experienced by the calves.

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