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Current attitudes of cattle practitioners to pain and the use of analgesics in cattle
  1. J. N. Huxley, BVetMed, DCHP, DipECBHM, PhD, MRCVS1 and
  2. H. R. Whay, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1 Division of Food Animal Science, Bristol Veterinary School, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  1. Dr Huxley's present address is School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough LE12 5RD


A questionnaire to examine the attitudes and perceptions of cattle practitioners to pain in cattle was sent to 2398 practitioners working in the uk, and 641 responses were received. From the range of procedures and conditions outlined in the questionnaire, claw amputation was scored as the most painful procedure undergone by adult cattle (assuming no analgesic drugs were administered), and neck calluses were scored as the least painful condition experienced by adult cattle. The pain associated with dystocia was considered the least painful experience for calves, and fracture of a distal limb and surgery for an umbilical hernia equally the most painful. There were significant differences between the pain scores assigned by men and women and by respondents who had graduated in different decades; female respondents and more recent graduates tended to give a higher pain score for most conditions. There were also significant differences between the pain scores assigned by respondents who routinely used analgesics and those who did not, the latter being more likely to assign significantly lower pain scores.

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