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Effects of a Concentrated Lidocaine Solution on the Acute Phase Stress Response to Dehorning in Dairy Calves
Journal of Dairy Science (2007)
  • Thomas J. Doherty, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • H.G. Kattesh
  • R.J. Adcock
  • Matt G. Welborn, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • A.M. Saxton
  • J.L. Morrow
  • J.W. Dailey
The objective of this study was to more fully define the surgical stress response to dehorning by heat cauterization in dairy calves by measuring behavioral, hormonal, inflammatory, and immunological markers of stress and to determine whether a nerve block of the surgical site with a concentrated solution of lidocaine (5%) reduces the degree of stress. Thirty-two 10- to 12-wk-old female Holstein calves were randomly allotted to 1 of 4 treatments: 5% lidocaine followed by dehorning, 2% lidocaine followed by dehorning, saline followed by dehorning, or 5% lidocaine followed by sham dehorning. Plasma cortisol concentration was measured in blood samples collected via a jugular catheter at −0.5, 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 6, 9, 12, 24, 48, and 72h. Various other blood constituents were measured in samples collected at −0.5, 12, 24, 48, and 72h. Feeding, drinking, scratching, grooming, rubbing, licking, and inactivity behaviors were observed in the standing and recumbent positions using a 10-min scan sampling method analyzed on a time period and daily basis for 72h following the dehorning procedure. The frequency of vocalization, kicking, and lying in the chute during the dehorning procedure were also assessed. The overall plasma cortisol concentrations were higher in calves subjected to dehorning than in control calves. Compared with the control group, the saline-treated calves had a higher cortisol concentration at 30 and 60min postdehorning. Plasma cortisol concentrations were higher in all groups at 30min postdehorning than at other sampling times. The percentage of circulating neutrophils and the neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio were increased in the saline and 2% lidocaine group. Total plasma protein, fibrinogen, and α1-acid glycoprotein concentrations were similar among treatments. The behavioral response to dehorning, as manifested by kicking while in the chute, was greater in the saline and 2% lidocaine group than in the control or 5% lidocaine treatment groups. In the postdehorning period, the percentage of time calves spent performing various maintenance behaviors did not differ among treatments. Thus, injection of 5% lidocaine may not provide any added comfort after the dehorning but may decrease the overall stress response during the procedure.
  • calf,
  • dehorning,
  • cortisol,
  • lidocaine
Publication Date
September, 2007
Citation Information
Thomas J. Doherty, H.G. Kattesh, R.J. Adcock, Matt G. Welborn, et al.. "Effects of a Concentrated Lidocaine Solution on the Acute Phase Stress Response to Dehorning in Dairy Calves" Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 90 Iss. 9 (2007)
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