This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of some specific behaviours of calves following amputation dehorning is modified by use of local anaesthesia such that their behaviour is similar to calves which were not dehorned, during the period of action of local anaesthesia. The hypothesis was not supported and the behaviour of calves given local anaesthesia was similar to animals dehorned without anaesthesia during the two hours after amputation dehorning and not similar toanimals which were not dehorned. It is possible that the behaviours which were monitored (feeding, rumination, grooming,lying down, ear-flicks, head-shakes, tail-shakes) were not relevant to the pain experienced by calves after dehorning.However, there were significant differences between the behaviour of control animals and those that were dehorned. Thephysical change caused by dehorning and the bleeding that occur afterwards may influence these behaviours so that the additional effect of the pain caused by amputation does not modify it further.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 234-236, 2000
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