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Stress and pain relief in cows undergoing surgery

A. Rizk, S. Herdtweck, J. Offinger, H. Meyer, A. Zaghloul, J. Rehage

CLAW disorders are responsible for a high proportion of lameness in cattle and thus have a major impact on productivity. Treatment can involve surgery in lateral recumbency using intravenous regional analgesia. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of xylazine on the stress and pain response of lame cattle undergoing claw treatment in lateral recumbency. Twenty-four lame Holstein-Friesian cattle were included in this prospective, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical case study. The cattle were randomly assigned to either the xylazine or placebo group and given xylazine (0.05 mg/kg bodyweight) or saline, respectively, 15 minutes before being placed in lateral recumbency on a surgical tipping table. All cows received retrograde intravenous local anaesthesia before the surgery. The cattle were examined for hormonal, metabolic and behavioural stress responses before, during and after surgery over a six-hour period.

All xylazine-treated cattle showed signs of mild sedation, a reduced pain response on insertion of the needle for local anaesthesia, reduced ear flicking during surgery and reduced lameness scores. After surgery these cattle had …

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