Is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug required to alleviate pain behavior associated with liver biopsy in cattle?

TitleIs a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug required to alleviate pain behavior associated with liver biopsy in cattle?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBeausoleil, N.J., and Stafford K.J.
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.
Pagination245 - 251
Date Published2012
ISBN Number15587878 (ISSN)
KeywordsAnimalia, Behavior, Bos, cattle, Friesia, Liver biopsy, Meloxicam, NSAIDs, pain

Liver samples are collected from cattle for a variety of reasons. Samples are taken by percutaneous biopsy, and, as this causes pain in cattle, it is usually performed under local anesthesia (LA). However, postbiopsy inflammation can cause pain and sensitization of the wound site after the effects of LA have worn off. If significant, inflammatory pain has the potential to affect animal welfare and productivity. Eighteen Friesian heifers and cows (mean body weight = 534 kg) were used in this study; all received LA at the incision site. Six animals were biopsied with no further drug administration (LA), 6 were given 15 mL meloxicam intravenously and then biopsied (LAN), and 6 were sham-biopsied (control, C). Paddock behavior was observed for 4 hours after biopsy: totals for the whole observation period as well as hourly totals were analyzed. Overall, LA cows spent less time ruminating than C cows (C vs. LA: t 10 = 2.72, P = 0.05), whereas LAN cows did not differ from controls. In contrast, LAN cows looked at the incision site more often than did C cows overall (t 9 = -2.86, P = 0.04). When hourly totals for this behavior were considered, LAN cows looked at the wound site significantly more often in the fourth hour than did C cows, and LA cows tended to look more often than C cows. The reduced rumination in LA cows, as well as the higher frequency of looking at the wound site in the fourth hour by all biopsied cows, suggests that liver biopsy caused some inflammatory pain when LA had worn off. Administration of meloxicam before biopsy had only a minor effect on pain behavior. There were no significant differences in the behavior of LAN cows compared with those given LA alone. However, rumination in cows given meloxicam did not differ from controls, suggesting a mild effect of the drug on behavior. The current study provides some evidence that cows did experience mild inflammatory pain after liver biopsy, but that meloxicam had negligible effects on this pain. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Go to top