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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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MSD Animal Health announces three new research bursaries

News Story 1
 MSD Animal Health has announced three new research bursaries for veterinary surgeons in the areas of swine, poultry and aquaculture. The bursaries, worth up to £4,000, add to MSD's existing bursaries in ruminant and companion animal research.

Projects are expected to be completed within one to two years, and the proposals will be judged by university academics to ensure that assessment remains independent. Full project design and application guidelines, including the specific disease/subject areas, can be found on MSD Animal Health's website

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News Shorts
VMD and VPS announce joint open information day

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) have announced a joint open information day covering topics such as veterinary medicines regulations, antimicrobial resistance, scientific advice and novel therapies.

Taking place on Wednesday 18 November, the virtual event will take the form of a series of pre-recorded webinars and a 'Slido' Q&A session. Links to the webinars and full instructions on how to use Slido will be available on on 18 November. To join the mailing list for the event, email