Dehorning of Calves – Methods of Pain and Stress Alleviation – A Review

Robert Kupczyński 1 , Anna Budny 1 , Kinga Śpitalniak 1  and Ewa Tracz 1
  • 1 Department of Environmental Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland


Dehorning of calves is intended to facilitate handling and increase the safety of people and animals. The study aimed to review the methods of calf dehorning and use of pharmacological analgesic, anaesthetic and sedation drugs, as well as their impact on pain perception. Regardless of the age of calves, dehorning is always associated with pain and stress. The changes in behaviour, physiological parameters, changes in heart rate, respiratory rate and increased cortisol secretion are observed during this procedure. The welfare of calves is significantly reduced during dehorning. Many studies point to minimization of the pain perceived by the use of pharmacological agents. Beneficial effects were observed with the combined use of anaesthetics and non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs

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