Effect of implementing a novel calf vitality scoring system and early intervention program on pain management in newborn dairy calves
Keywords:Pain management, dystocia, VIGOR scoring system, scoring system, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, meloxicam
Pain management in newborn calves after dystocia and assisted calving is still not addressed by most producers or veterinarians. The calf VIGOR scoring system, developed at the University of Guelph, was designed to be applied within minutes after birth to assesses Visual appearance, Initiation of movement, General responsiveness, Oxygenation, and heart and respiration Rates in calves. The VIGOR scoring system was designed to identify high risk/low vigor calves for the purpose of applying interventions to improve vigor and survivability. In different studies conducted at the University of Guelph it was reported that providing pain management with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (meloxicam), shortly after birth, may improve calf vitality, health and performance outcomes, particularly in calves experiencing dystocia. The objective of this study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of implementing a novel program that includes assessment of newborns using the VIGOR scoring system followed by provision of meloxicam to calves with low vigor scores, on outcomes reflecting calf well-being and health.