Many breeds of cattle have horns, which are often removed early in life to protect other animals and farmers from injury. The AVMA policy and this informational video offer guidance to help make this procedure as comfortable as possible for animals.
“The AVMA provides up-to-date and accurate information about ensuring good animal welfare. Videos like this one help us get that information to more people,” explains veterinarian Cia Johnson of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, who appears in the video.
“America has more than 96 million head of cattle, so — although not widely known — this is a common procedure,” she says. “The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee uses the latest scientific research available and practical experience to recommend policy for the Association. Research has shown that local anesthesia can be used to reduce the pain experienced by animals during dehorning.”
AVMA policy recommends that, to reduce discomfort for the animal, dehorning be done at the earliest age possible and that consideration be given to the use of local anesthetics (for example, lidocaine) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents for pain control.
The new video demonstrates the use of local anesthetic and disbudding (a dehorning technique applied to young calves), and helps educate farmers and the general public about how pain management can improve an animals’ welfare.