Frahm, S., Di Giminiani, P., Stanitznig, A. et al. 2020. Nociceptive threshold of calves and goat kids undergoing injection of clove oil or isoeugenol for disbudding. Animals 10(7), 1228.

In this preliminary study, we compared changes in mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) of calves and goat kids injected with clove oil or isoeugenol under the horn bud as a potential, more welfare-friendly alternative to hot-iron disbudding. Twenty male calves and goat kids were randomly allocated to clove oil (n = 10 per species) or isoeugenol (n = 10 per species) injection under the horn buds. MNT was measured via a pressure algometer in calves and kids at several locations around the horn buds at several time points before and up to 24 h after injection. In kids, von Frey filaments were used additionally at the same time points. In calves, linear mixed models revealed an effect on MNT of time point (p = 0.010) and side (p = 0.007), but not of injection (p = 0.298), nor of the interaction ‘injection*time point’, MNT waslowest 9 h post-injection. In goats, there was an effect of injection depending on time point (interaction injection*time point, p = 0.03) with MNT being lowest 24 h post-injection for clove oil, while MNT was similar to pre-injection in isoeugenol. In both species, variation in the individual response post-injection was very high. Our results suggest that clove oil and isoeugenol induced hypersensitivity, which was higher for clove oil, in goat kids, but they also suggest a transient anaesthetic effect in some animals and locations.

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