Pain relief: essential to your farm's bottom line

Livestock in distress may be costing your farm money

Until recently on farm it would not have been standard practice to include pain relief when performing typical procedures such as dehorning or castration. However increasingly, farmers are seeing the benefits of routine pain relief both in terms of productivity and animal welfare.

Procedures such as these, as well as assisted births, lameness and mastitis, will inevitably cause livestock some pain, but effective pain management can shorten the length of the animal’s distress and speed up recovery.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ineffective pain management on farm has been shown to have a negative effect on the productivity of the animal. Pain reduces animal performance, be that growth rate in young animals or milk yield in adult animals.

Even a small dip in the productivity of a herd can have a huge financial impact. For example, a single incidence of lameness in a cow, with associated treatment, loss of productivity and earlier culling can amount to £350 per cow. That cost, over an average sized herd could equate to a financial loss of £7,500.

Despite our best efforts to prevent disease, there will always be situations on farms, where the initiation of pain or inflammation cannot be avoided. Prompt or even pre-emptive treatment of these diseases or procedures with appropriate anti-inflammatory or pain relief can reap rewards.

A robust strategy of animal welfare is an essential part of day-to-day life on the farm.

A recent paper published by the BVA and BCVA adds weight to the argument calling for farmers to apply appropriate analgesia alongside local anaesthetic during veterinary and husbandry procedures. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to reduce chronic pain afterwards.

Signs of pain in livestock to look out for are varied: they may include minor indications such as slight changes to posture to more extreme signs, such as an extreme vocalisation and inability to stand.

Of course, farmers are legally obliged to keep their livestock healthy, as required by the Animal Welfare Act, and adjacent legislation. Many farm assurance schemes now require a pain management plan as part of their accreditation. The bottom line is that reducing pain in livestock can have the additional benefit of improving productivity and increasing profits.

Loxicom Large Animal can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in cattle, reduce recovery times after treatments, as well as relieving the symptoms of acute respiratory illness and can help with the treatment of calf diarrhoea.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Developed by Norbrook, one of the most preeminent producers of animal welfare products in the world. Continued research, new product development and ongoing investment ensure Norbrook continue to pioneer the best quality treatments for animals.

As well as its use in cattle Loxicom is licensed for use on horses and pigs.

Related topics: