5th Well-Being Forum Looks at Pain at Calving

GLOBAL - Last week, Boehringer Ingelheim held their 5th Farm-Animal Well-Being forum in Lisbon, Portugal. The meeting brought together around 100 experts from across the world. The second half of the meeting looked at how painful parturition is to farm animals.
calendar icon 8 June 2012
clock icon 3 minute read
Boehringer Ingelheim - Farm Animal Well-Being

Professor Marina von Keyserlingk and Professor Dan Weary, from the University of British Columbia, Canada presented the results of a study looking at changes in behaviour of cows around calving.

They looked at cows preferences with regard to calving in an open pen, or a more private, enclosed space. One study found that cows preferred to calve in the latter area.

Another study looked at how often cows stood prior to calving. Although the amount of time stood prior and post calving did not appear to be much different than at other stages of lactation, the number of standing bouts, from two days before calving to the day of calving, increased dramatically.

Professor von Keyserlingk said that this suggested the cows were more restless, and suggested that special attention be placed on cow comfort in the maternity pen.

A further study looked at whether cows which became ill from metritis post calving displayed abnormal behaviour leading up to and around calving.

The study showed that cows that became ill had reduced feeding time and dry matter intake before calving compared to healthy cows.

Although more research needs to be done, this information could help early disease detection or help prevent disease, said Professor Weary.

Dr Kenneth Joubert, a private practitioner from South Africa took a look at providing analgesia to cattle during the calving period. He looked at the various options available to producers, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), opioids, alpha2agonists and local anaesthetics drugs.

With NSAIDs being one of the most widely used analgesics used in the industry, Dr Joubert said that NSAIDs provide little pain relief for primary pains, such as a surgical incision. He said they do alleviate secondary pain, but that additional analgesia should be provided for painful procedures and surgery.

Dr Cathy Dwyer from the Scottish Agricultural College presented the results of a study that looked at the effect of meloxicam on cow behaviour following caesarean section (C-section).

In particular the research wanted to see if there were any effects on the maternal behaviour on beef cattle, whether the administration of meloxicam could mitigate post-partum pain and discomfort associated with a C-section.

To assess this, the team chose to look at activity related behaviour. It determined that meloxicam increased the total lying time of cattle after C-section and the number of bouts in the first 24 hours, compared to cows receiving a placebo. Commonly this would be associated with pain, however Dr Dwyer believes this may not be the case. She said that lying behaviour in post-partum C-section cows may not be indicative of pain, and encouraged further research to better understand discomfort at parturition.

Dr Dwyer said that to tackle the issue of post-partum pain in cattle (operative or not), more research is needed to develop validated pain measurements.

The last speaker of the day, was Professor Todd Duffield from the University of Guelph, Canada. He discussed a number of studies carried out looking at the use of different types of NSAIDs analgesia on dairy cows at parturition.

His main conclusion was not to use funixide meglumine on the day of calving, as it increased the chances of retained placenta.

He also demonstrated that the use of meloxicam affected feeding behaviour, increasing visits to the feedbunk and the time spent their.

Boehringer Ingelheim's Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-Being has become a recognised discussion platform which facilitates communication and transfer of knowledge between veterinarians and animal scientists.

TheCattleSite News DeskRead more Boehringer Ingelheim News here

Boehringer Ingelheim - Farm Animal Well-Being
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.