Analgesic drug administration and attitudes about analgesia in cattle among bovine practitioners in the United States

Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Impact Factor: 1.56). 03/2011; 238(6):755-67. DOI: 10.2460/javma.238.6.755
Source: PubMed


To determine current attitudes and practices related to pain and analgesia in cattle among US veterinarians in bovine practice and to identify factors associated with these attitudes and practices.
Web-based survey. Sample-3,019 US members of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) with e-mail addresses.
Veterinarians were invited via e-mail to participate in a Web-based survey. Respondents replied to questions related to pain and analgesia and supplied personal, professional, and demographic information. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed, and associations among various factors were examined.
666 surveys (25.5% response rate) were analyzed. Among common procedures and medical conditions of cattle listed on the survey, castration of dairy calves < 6 months old was subjectively estimated as causing the least pain; abdominal surgery, toxic mastitis, and dehorning of calves > 6 months old were assessed as causing the greatest pain. Respondents reported not providing analgesic drugs to approximately 70% of calves castrated at < 6 months of age. The most commonly administered analgesics were NSAIDs, local anesthetics, and α(2)-adrenergic receptor agonists. Significant associations were detected among respondent characteristics and pain ratings, percentages of cattle treated, and opinions regarding analgesia.
Results provide information on current attitudes and practices related to pain and analgesia in cattle among US veterinarians in bovine practice and can be considered in the development of policies and protocols for pain management in cattle. These data can be compared with those of future studies to examine changes over time.

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    • "Smaller farms appear somewhat more likely to provide pain relief (Gottardo et al 2011), perhaps because veterinarians are more likely to perform these procedures on smaller farms (USDA 2009). That said, involvement of a veterinarian is no guarantee pain relief will be provided; 37% of veterinarians in the United States (Fajt et al 2011) and between 8–15% of veterinarians in Canada (Hewson et al 2007; Misch et al 2007) reported not using analgesia when dehorning dairy calves (< 6 months of age). "
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    ABSTRACT: A common and painful management practice undertaken on most dairy farms is dehorning young calves (also called 'disbudding' when done on calves less than about two months of age). Despite much evidence the practice is painful, and effective means available to mitigate this pain, it is frequently performed without pain relief. The overall aim of this study was to describe different stakeholder views on the use of pain mitigation for disbudding and dehorning. Using an interactive, online platform, we asked participants whether or not they believed that calves should be disbudded and dehorned with pain relief and to provide reasons to support their choice. Participant composition was as follows: dairy producer or other farm worker (10%); veterinarian or other professional working with the dairy industry (7%); student, teacher or researcher (16%); animal advocate (9%); and no involvement with the dairy industry (57%). Of 354 participants, 90% thought pain relief should be provided when disbudding and dehorning. This support was consistent across all demographic categories suggesting the industry practice of disbudding and dehorning without pain control is not consistent with normative beliefs. The most common themes in participants' comments were: pain intensity and duration, concerns about drug use, cost, ease and practicality and availability of alternatives. Some of the participants' reasoning corresponded well with existing scientific evidence, but other reasons illustrated important misconceptions, indicating an urgent need for educational efforts targeted at dairy producers and dairy industry professionals advising these producers.
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    • "rvice ( FSIS ) in 2010 ( USDA 2012 ) , accounting for 14% of violations . Of the 285 flunixin violations , 71% were in cull dairy cows and 21% in bob veal calves . This is consistent with usage from a recent survey of bovine practitioners , which reported that dairy cattle accounted for the largest percentage ( 86% ) of cases treated with NSAIDs ( Fajt et al . 2011 ) . The high incidence of violative residues in cull dairy cows has resulted in a new flunixin screening programme initiated by the USFDA in 2012 for milk ( USFDA 2012 ) . A recentlypublishedsmallsurveil- lanceofmilksamplesfoundapositiveviolationrateof 0.2%forthemarkerresidue,5-hydroxyflunixin(Kissell etal.2013)."
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    ABSTRACT: Frequent violation of flunixin residues in tissues from cattle has been attributed to non-compliance with the USFDA-approved route of administration and withdrawal time. However, the effect of administration route and physiological differences among animals on tissue depletion has not been determined. The objective of this work was to develop a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model to predict plasma, liver and milk concentrations of flunixin in cattle following intravenous (i.v.), intramuscular (i.m.) or subcutaneous (s.c.) administration for use as a tool to determine factors that may affect the withdrawal time. The PBPK model included blood flow-limited distribution in all tissues and elimination in the liver, kidney and milk. Regeneration of parent flunixin due to enterohepatic recirculation and hydrolysis of conjugated metabolites was incorporated in the liver compartment. Values for physiological parameters were obtained from the literature, and partition coefficients for all tissues but liver and kidney were derived empirically. Liver and kidney partition coefficients and elimination parameters were estimated for 14 pharmacokinetic studies (including five crossover studies) from the literature or government sources in which flunixin was administered i.v., i.m. or s.c. Model simulations compared well with data for the matrices following all routes of administration. Influential model parameters included those that may be age or disease-dependent, such as clearance and rate of milk production. Based on the model, route of administration would not affect the estimated days to reach the tolerance concentration (0.125 mg kg(-1)) in the liver of treated cattle. The majority of USDA-reported violative residues in liver were below the upper uncertainty predictions based on estimated parameters, which suggests the need to consider variability due to disease and age in establishing withdrawal intervals for drugs used in food animals. The model predicted that extravascular routes of administration prolonged flunixin concentrations in milk, which could result in violative milk residues in treated cattle.
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    • "Thomsen et al. (2012) reported highly positive attitudes towards use of analgesics in dairy cows by Danish veterinarians, which suggest a high animal welfare awareness among Nordic veterinarians. This awareness was also reflected in the scores for disbudding pain without medication which were higher in this study than those reported in the UK and the US (Huxley and Whay, 2006; Fajt et al., 2011). The relatively high sensitivity to pain revealed in current survey may be partly driven by the large proportion of females within veterinary profession in Finland. "
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    ABSTRACT: The treatment of cattle pain often relies upon veterinarians. The aim of this study was to assess the effect on pain assessment of veterinarians’ skills, attitudes, education and empathy, and to examine how these factors influence disbudding pain management. A web-based questionnaire was sent to Finnish veterinary students in either the preclinical or clinical stage, and also to production-animal practice oriented veterinarians. The questionnaire recorded demographics, statements of opinions, pain scoring of cattle conditions and procedures. Empathy towards humans (Interpersonal Reactivity Index, IRI) and reworded IRI to measure empathy towards animals were also covered. The overall response rate was approximately 40%. The association between pain and empathy scores were analyzed by Pearsońs correlation, and the factors affecting pain scores and empathy towards animals analyzed using general linear models. The need for pain medication of calves during disbudding was well recognized and the intention to treat such pain was very common. Higher mean scores for cattle pain were associated with greater empathy towards humans. On average, respondents’ empathy towards animals was greater than towards humans, and was associated with respondents’ empathy towards humans, family size and attachment to family pet.
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