Tail Docking in Sheep and Cortisol Levels
sheep tail docking
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Animal Sciences Undergraduate Research Theses; 2017
Tail docking lambs between one and seven days of age is a standard industry practice used to mitigate the likelihood of developing fly strike. However, there are significant animal welfare concerns regarding pain associated with the tail docking process. This study aims to evaluate the pain response of sheep undergoing the tail docking process by assessing changes in cortisol levels between sheep provided with and without analgesic. A total of 32 lambs (15 rams and 17 ewes) were enrolled on the trial and had blood collected to assess serum cortisol concentrations over a 7 day period. Two treatments were implemented in the study: 1) Control (n=16) and 2) Drug (meloxicam administered PO at 1.0 mg/kg; n= 16). Results from this study demonstrated that lambs administered meloxicam demonstrated decreased cortisol levels at 24 and 48 hours post-tail docking (p < 0.05) compared to control lambs. This demonstrates that tail docking is a painful procedure that can be mitigated with use of analgesics during the 48 hours post-procedure.
Academic Major: Animal Sciences
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