Pain responses associated with four caprine disbudding methodologies
heat cautery, clove oil injection, short-term application of caustic paste, and freezing
Keywords:goats, disbudding, horn, anesthesia, analgesia, heat-cautery, animal welfare, caprine disbudding, clove oil, caustic paste, freezing
An overwhelming majority of domestic goats are born with horns and require disbudding either for safety considerations or as a requirement by show organizations and breed registries. Heat-cautery disbudding is typically performed by producers without adjunct anesthesia or analgesia, and is both painful to the animal and aversive to the owner. Although heat-cautery disbudding currently provides a 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, is technically straightforward to perform, and reliable. The objective of this study was to evaluate indications of pain for 3 alternative caprine disbudding methods (clove oil injection, 1-hour application of caustic paste, or freezing) against sham-disbudded and heat-cautery controls.