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Pain assessment and management after abdominal surgery or parturition in dairy cattle

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Title: Pain assessment and management after abdominal surgery or parturition in dairy cattle
Author: Newby, Nathalie Christine
Department: Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: Duffield, Todd F.Pearl, David L.
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of the impact of abdominal surgeries and assisted parturition in dairy cows on physiological and behavioural parameters, and the potential management of pain through the use of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or a mechanical brush. This research is novel and necessary because of the paucity of pain research in dairy cows. Three abdominal surgery studies were conducted. The first was a randomized clinical field trial, conducted on commercial dairy herds in southern Ontario, Canada, to evaluate the effect of ketoprofen following correction of left displaced abomasum. The second and third studies were randomized clinical trials evaluating NSAIDs following the first stage of a two-stage fistulation surgery. The second tested ketoprofen versus saline, while the third compared ketoprofen and meloxicam. The key findings from these studies were that there were indicators of pain following surgery (such as decreased milk production, dry matter intake, and changes in lying behavior) and that there were beneficial effects of administering NSAIDs following abdominal surgery(improved eating and lying behavior), although these effects were not sufficient to alleviate all of the surgical pain. Two trials were conducted in parturient cows. The first trial examined the effects of meloxicam administration 24 h following assisted calving. There were beneficial effects of NSAID on feeding behavior, however, further research is needed to investigate the full potential of providing an NSAID as a post-calving pain therapy. The second trial described the use of a mechanical brush by parturient cows. This study yielded insight on the brush use of these cows, as well as on their maternal, auto-grooming, and scratching behaviors. Cows used the brush before parturition, and when the calf was present, auto-grooming and scratching behaviors were significantly reduced, and calf licking time was greater in the brush group compared to the no brush group. The findings described in this dissertation provide insights into the expression and assessment of pain and its management following abdominal surgery in dairy cattle. This study has also identified areas of future research for both assessment and management of pain following abdominal surgery and following assisted calving.
Date: 2012-10
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