Characterization of efficacy and animal safety across four caprine disbudding methodologies

heat cautery, clove oil injection, short-term application of caustic paste, and freezing


  • K. M. Still Brooks Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
  • M. Hempstead School of Science, The University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
  • S. T. Millman Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, IA 50011



disbudding, safety, anesthesia, analgesia, animal welfare, clove oil, caustic paste, freezing, Heat-cautery


Caprine disbudding is commonly performed for safety considerations or as a requirement by show organizations. Heat-cautery disbudding is typically performed by producers without adjunct anesthesia or analgesia and is both painful to the animal and aversive to the producer. Although it currently provides the most common compromise between welfare, efficacy, and production constraints, there is demand for a stand-alone disbudding option that improves welfare in the absence of adjunct anesthesia and is both technically straightforward and reliable. The objective of this study was to evaluate efficacy and animal safety for 3 alternative caprine disbudding methods (clove oil injection, 1-hour application of caustic paste, or freezing) against sham-disbudded and heat-cautery controls.






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