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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Livestock Issues Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #291822

Title: Meloxicam mediates short-term behavioral changes of castrated calves

item KRAWCZEL, PETER - University Of Tennessee
item Carroll, Jeffery - Jeff Carroll
item Sanchez, Nicole
item Dailey, Jeffery
item DANIEL, JAY - Berry College
item COETZEE, JOHANN - Iowa State University
item WHITLOCK, BRIAN - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2013
Publication Date: 10/24/2013
Citation: Krawczel, P.D., Carroll, J.A., Sanchez, N.C., Dailey, J.W., Daniel, J.A., Coetzee, J.F., Whitlock, B.K. 2013. Meloxicam mediates short-term behavioral changes of castrated calves. Journal of Animal Science Supplement. 91(E-Suppl. 2): 533 (Abstract TH172).

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Castration may detrimentally affect the health and performance of weaned calves and painful procedures are increasingly a public concern. Therefore, practical pain mitigation is critical. The objective was to determine the effects of castration (by banding) with or without administration of meloxicam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, on the behavior of weaned beef calves. Forty-eight (56 days post-weaning) beef calves [10.0 +/- 0.2 (mean +/- standard error) month old; 304 +/- 6 kg body weight) were blocked then randomly assigned to 3 treatments (n = 16 calves per treatment: 1) intact bulls (BULL), 2) castration by banding (BAN), or 3) castration by banding with orally-administered meloxicam (3 miligram per kg on days 0 and 14; BAN+M). On d -7, calves were assigned to 6 pens (2 calves per treatment within each pen). Behavior (mean lying time (hour/day), mean lying bouts (number/day), and steps (number/day) were recorded at 1-min intervals for 27 days by dataloggers fitted to the calves on day 0. Data were analyzed using a mixed model in SAS with repeated measures. Over 27 days, BULL spent more time lying (13.9 +/- 0.6 hours/day) compared to BAN (11.9 +/- 0.6 hours/day; P < 0.001) or BAN+M (12.2 +/- 0.6 hours/day; P = 0.004), which did not differ from one another (P = 0.85). During the 3 days after administration of meloxicam, treatment differences were evident among all treatments. BULL spent more time lying (12.9 +/- 0.6 hours/day) than BAN (9.7 +/- 0.7 hours/day; P < 0.001) and tended to spend more time lying than BAN+M (11.4 +/- 0.6 hours/day; P = 0.07). BAN+M spent more time lying than BAN (P = 0.02). Day and treatment by day interactions were evident for both periods (P < 0.04). Lying bouts were not affected by treatment over 27 days (P = 0.23) or the 3 days after meloxicam (P = 0.32). Steps per d tended to differ among treatments (P = 0.09); BULL took numerically fewer steps (829 +/- 75 number/day) than BAN (991 +/- 76 number/day) or BAN+M (972 +/- 75 number/day) over 27 days. BULL took fewer steps than BAN (886 +/- 80 vs 1133 +/- 81 number/day; P < 0.001), but did not differ from BAN+M (1035 +/- 80 number/day; P = 0.16). Decreased lying and increased steps suggest castration was painful regardless of pain abatement. The benefits of meloxicam were evident from decreased behavioral changes 3 d after administration.