Blocking for dehorning

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SBMF 2015

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I've got the college students coming out in November again, to learn routine feeder calf vaccinating, and implanting. We've got a couple to dehorn. The Professor loves it because it's usually something none of the students have seen before. I have a head table on the chute, and use a Barnes gouge and electric irons to cauterizie.
Now this being 2021, and trying to show these young people the correct way to dehorn got me thinking that maybe I should block these calves with lidocaine first. A quiet calf will give a much better perception of what we are doing.
I have never blocked for dehorning. Does anyone have any experience or a link to a good diagram?
Thanks everyone.
 
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SBMF 2015

SBMF 2015

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Never done it myself, but not a bad idea. It's a different world now.

Which college you got coming?
Black Hawk East. I graduated in '02 and have been hosting labs for the Animal Science and Beef Science classes since '05. We have 4 or 5 labs a year. Next Thursday they are coming out to learn how to pull blood for bio pryon testing and how to age and body score cattle.
 

Buck Randall

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I block for dehorning every time. Here's a video that isn't bad:


You'll feel a groove running between the outside corner of the eye and the horn bud. That's where the nerve to the horn runs. Put 2-5 cc of lidocaine SQ there. For calves more than a couple weeks old, I recommend putting some lidocaine SQ just behind the horns as well; sometimes a nerve grows up from around that side.

Assuming you're working on the calves in the chute, I recommend applying the lidocaine first, then any vaccinations or other procedures, and dehorning last. That gives the block some time to work. It's not 100% effective, but it's pretty satisfying to be able to cut and cauterize horns on an animal that's just calmly standing there and wondering what's going on.
 
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SBMF 2015

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I block for dehorning every time. Here's a video that isn't bad:


You'll feel a groove running between the outside corner of the eye and the horn bud. That's where the nerve to the horn runs. Put 2-5 cc of lidocaine SQ there. For calves more than a couple weeks old, I recommend putting some lidocaine SQ just behind the horns as well; sometimes a nerve grows up from around that side.

Assuming you're working on the calves in the chute, I recommend applying the lidocaine first, then any vaccinations or other procedures, and dehorning last. That gives the block some time to work. It's not 100% effective, but it's pretty satisfying to be able to cut and cauterize horns on an animal that's just calmly standing there and wondering what's going on.
THANK YOU very much. I really appreciate it.
 

Lucky_P

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I salute you for thinking of taking that step!
After doing them for decades without a block... I would not do so any more. It's inhumane, and while I'm not a bunny hugger, it is our responsibility to treat our livestock humanely.
I only do one every year or so anymore, but always block, and give an NSAID for post-dehorning analgesia when the block wears off. Some, if not all, of the veterinary colleges are now advocating this - and teaching their students accordingly.
It only takes a few seconds to block one, and as BR said... do all other proceduewa while it's taking effect. Burned buds off a 4-month old heifer recently... she gave not a jerk or bawl, thanks to a good cornual nerve block.

I have an Immobilizer; rarely used it. It does not provide any pain relief or analgesia... the animal just can't move; I think they're fully aware of what's going on... they just can't do anything about it. I'll make anyone who wants one a good deal on it, 'cause I don't figure I'll ever need it again... don't plan to ever have a [email protected] cow that I have to put it on, in the chute, just to get a calf started on her without her breaking my hands/arms.
 

kenny thomas

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I don't disagree with using a block but many people can't use one or get the meds to do it. I can use my Immobilizer by myself and it's still easier on both the calf and me. I would gladly take it off your hands.
 

gcreekrch

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Have used the block quite a few times on older cattle. Almost like you could take their head off without a fight. Use the green Cheerios on smaller horns.
 

Buck Randall

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I don't disagree with using a block but many people can't use one or get the meds to do it. I can use my Immobilizer by myself and it's still easier on both the calf and me. I would gladly take it off your hands.
Do you have a veterinarian that you work with at all? Most will be quite happy to sell you lidocaine, and it's cheap.
 

kenny thomas

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I work with my vet very well. She actually brings vet students to my farm to learn.
I so rarely dehorn anymore that I don't even think about keeping lidocaine.
I sometimes dehorn a trade cow but hadn't considered using it instead of the Immobilizer. Maybe I should rethink it. But can't keep it on hand to use once every 2-3 years.
 

Steve123

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We always use a block when we cosmetic dehorn the show calves. Dr. Bloomberg knows all about making their heads pretty.
 

littletom

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Black Hawk East. I graduated in '02 and have been hosting labs for the Animal Science and Beef Science classes since '05. We have 4 or 5 labs a year. Next Thursday they are coming out to learn how to pull blood for bio pryon testing and how to age and body score cattle.
I graduated BHE in 2004. Great time there
 

sstterry

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I work with my vet very well. She actually brings vet students to my farm to learn.
I so rarely dehorn anymore that I don't even think about keeping lidocaine.
I sometimes dehorn a trade cow but hadn't considered using it instead of the Immobilizer. Maybe I should rethink it. But can't keep it on hand to use once every 2-3 years.
Are you still using the Immobilizer you bought from the guy in Greeneville or have you upgraded to the newer cordless one?
 
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SBMF 2015

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I graduated BHE in 2004. Great time there
Heck Yeah! Almost every one had retired by now. Mr. Hoge has retired and been rehired as Animal Science lab coordinator. So I still get to work with him. Aaron Callahan is still in the equine program. Andrew Larson is still there. Every one else is gone.
BHE has put in a HUGE vet tec building and program. I did a walk through with a vet that graduated from Michigan state. She said BHE's set up was nicer than Michigan state.
I tell everyone it is THE place to go for Equine or livestock education and if you want to go on then transfer to a four year Ag College.
I have met students at labs from Hawaii, California, South America, and ever where inbetween.
 

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