Article

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

ABSTRACT

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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    • "Pain is an important animal welfare problem, not least in cattle (Huxley and Whay, 2006; Hewson et al., 2007; Kielland et al., 2009; Laven et al., 2009; Thomsen et al., 2010; Fajt et al., 2011). Veterinarians are expected to be able to diagnose, grade and treat pain in cattle. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pain compromises the welfare of animals. A prerequisite for being able to alleviate pain is that we are able to recognize it. Potential behavioural signs of pain were investigated for dairy cattle with the aim of constructing a pain scale for use under production conditions. Forty-three cows were selected and fifteen different behaviours were scored, subsequently a clinical examination was performed to allocate the cows to a pain and non-pain group. The animals were then treated with an analgesic or a placebo and after a resting period the cows were re-scored by two observers blinded to the treatment. Six behaviours were found to be significantly different between the pain and non-pain group and robust enough to be included in the pain scale: ‘attention towards the surroundings’ ‘head position’, ‘ears position’, ‘facial expressions’, ‘response to approach’ and ‘back position’ (a seventh, piloerection, was also significant but seemed difficult to use as it changed rapidly; p < 0.05 for all measures). The Cow Pain Scale is the sum of the score for the aforementioned behaviours. For each individual animal before and after treatment, it was significantly lower after analgesic treatment (p = 0.003) in the ClinPain group but not after placebo treatment (p = 0.06); the pain score did not differ significantly before compared to after treatment with analgesic or placebo for the non-pain group (p = 0.2; p = 0.1). A second study was conducted to further validate the Cow Pain Scale. Cows from two herds were randomly selected (n = 119) and their behaviour scored by two observers. Subsequently the cows were clinically examined and allocated to a pain and non-pain group (n = 96, 23 cows were excluded because of incomplete examination). The cows from the pain group scored higher on The Cow Pain Scale compared to the non-pain group for both observer I (p < 0.0001) and observer II (p = 0.0001). For the two observers the sensitivity of the Cow Pain Scale was calculated to 0.61/0.75 and the specificity to 0.75/0.75 with a weighted Kappa of 0.62. In conclusion the Cow Pain Scale has the potential to be applied for the assessment of pain in dairy cattle under production conditions.
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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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