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Annals of Animal Science

The Journal of National Research Institute of Animal Production

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Dehorning of Calves – Methods of Pain and Stress Alleviation – A Review

Robert Kupczyński
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Environmental Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Anna Budny
  • Department of Environmental Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Kinga Śpitalniak
  • Department of Environmental Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ewa Tracz
  • Department of Environmental Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-04-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/aoas-2014-0016


Dehorning of calves is intended to facilitate handling and increase the safety of people and animals. The study aimed to review the methods of calf dehorning and use of pharmacological analgesic, anaesthetic and sedation drugs, as well as their impact on pain perception. Regardless of the age of calves, dehorning is always associated with pain and stress. The changes in behaviour, physiological parameters, changes in heart rate, respiratory rate and increased cortisol secretion are observed during this procedure. The welfare of calves is significantly reduced during dehorning. Many studies point to minimization of the pain perceived by the use of pharmacological agents. Beneficial effects were observed with the combined use of anaesthetics and non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs

Keywords: calves; dehorning; stress; cortisol


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About the article

Received: 2013-10-17

Accepted: 2014-02-13

Published Online: 2014-04-25

Published in Print: 2014-04-01

Citation Information: Annals of Animal Science, Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 231–243, ISSN (Online) 1642-3402, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/aoas-2014-0016.

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© by Robert Kupczyński. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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