Video Demos Cattle Pain Control

Farmers can help reduce cattle pain during dehorning with a procedure offered by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

by Dani Yokhna
In an online video, the AVMA demonstrates its policy for reducing cattle pain during a dehorning procedure.

The American Veterinary Medical Association released a video promoting its policy on how to reduce pain for cattle during a common surgical procedure—dehorning.

Many breeds of cattle have horns, which are often removed early in life to protect farmers and other animals from injury. The AVMA policy and the informational video offer guidance to help farmers make this procedure as comfortable as possible for cattle.

“America has more than 96 million head of cattle, so—although not widely known—[dehorning] is a common procedure,” explains Dr. Cia Johnson of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, who appears in the video. “The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee uses the latest scientific research available and practical experience to recommend policy for the association. Research has shown that local anesthesia can be used to reduce the pain experienced by animals during dehorning.”

AVMA recommends that to reduce discomfort for the animal, dehorning be done at the earliest age possible and that consideration be given to the use of local anesthetics, such as lidocaine, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents for pain control.

The video demonstrates the use of local anesthetic and disbudding (a dehorning technique applied to young calves), and helps educate farmers and the general public about how pain management can improve an animal’s welfare.

For more information, visit the AVMA website.

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