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Goat kids should be treated differently to calves, study finds
"Managers must recognise that goat kids are not small calves.”
Scientists review existing scientific literature on disbudding methods. 

A study by scientists in New Zealand has concluded that there is a need for goat kids to be treated differently to small calves.

The study, published in the journal Animal Welfare, follows concerns relating to disbudding, a practise routinely conducted in calves and goat kids to avoid injury to other animals, farm animals and damage to the environment.

Researchers considered the existing scientific literature, compared the disbudding methods for calves and kids, reviewed the behavioural and physiological responses of the two species to disbudding, and identified alternatives to disbudding along with refinements of current practices.

They concluded that the effect of iron temperature and application deserved special consideration to reduce pain and injury, and to increase effectiveness. Pain and injury associated with disbudding could be eliminated by changing herd management to allow for horned goats, or breeding and farming polled (hornless) animals, the researchers said.

The team also found that alternative disbudding methods, including caustic paste and cryosurgical disbudding, are more painful than cautery disbudding and may not be useful alternatives. They state that while clove oil injection appears to cause a similar experience of acute pain as cautery disbudding, the current method may cause longer-term inflammatory pain, and is therefore ineffective at preventing horns and scurs.

“Until a less painful and efficacious alternative is realised, it appears that adapting cautery disbudding methods using pain mitigation is the best option currently available for farmed dairy goats,” commented lead author, Dr Melissa Hempstead. “In order for the industry to establish best practice guidelines for disbudding goat kids, managers must recognise that goat kids are not small calves.”


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Vets asked to opt-in to Scottish SPCA fostering programme

News Story 1
 The Scottish SPCA is encouraging veterinary practices to opt into its new fostering programme, by agreeing to register foster animals when approached by one of the foster carers.

The programme goes live in August 2021, and will help to rehabilitate animals under the Scottish SPCA's care until they are able to be properly re-homed. The programme will help the animals to receive care and attention in a stable and happy home environment, as some animals do not cope with a rescue and re-homing centre environment as well as others.

Specific information for veterinary practices on the new programme can be found at 

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News Shorts
Webinar provides insight into old age pets

A new webinar providing insights into the BSAVA PetSavers Old Age Pets citizen science project is now available free of charge to its members via the BSAVA Library

The webinar presents an exclusive insight into the research process and progression of the study, which aims to help veterinary professionals and owners provide the best care for their senior dogs.

It also discusses the study's research methods, the researchers' personal interests in this area of study, and how they envisage the findings being used to create a guidance tool to improve discussions between vets and owners about their ageing dogs.