Administration of a NSAID (meloxicam) affects lying behaviour after caesarean section in beef cows

AC Barrier, TM Coombs, CM Dwyer, MJ Haskell, L Goby

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Very little is known about the pain experienced by cattle following caesarean section andhence little consideration has been given to managing it. Thus the purpose of this study wasto investigate activity-related behavioural changes in response to pain, by pre-emptivelyadministering a long acting NSAID to beef cows undergoing caesarean section. One hundredand ten beef cows (55 primiparous, 55 multiparous) that underwent non-elective standard-ised caesarean section were recruited from eight French veterinary practices. Cows receivedpre-emptively either meloxicam (n = 63) or placebo (n = 47) according to a blind randomisedschedule. Pedometers were attached to each cow’s left hindleg and activity was monitoredfrom 0 h (end of surgery) to 68 h post-partum. Time spent lying, number of steps and countsof lying bouts were calculated for the following periods: 0–8 h, 8–16 h, 16–24 h, 24–48 hand 48–68 h and analysed with a REML procedure.Cows receiving meloxicam spent significantly more time lying in the 0–8 h and 8–16 hperiods following surgery than cows receiving placebo (+27.4 and +26.4 min, respectively;P < 0.05) and had more bouts of lying in the first 24 h (P < 0.05). No differences were seen inthe number of steps taken (P > 0.05). These findings may be interpreted as suggesting thatincreased lying following caesarean section is an indicator of increased comfort; moreover,it may also suggest that improved welfare, for parturient cows, can be obtained with NSAIDtreatment.© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28 - 33
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Publication statusFirst published - 2014

Bibliographical note



  • Caesarean
  • Cattle
  • Lying behaviour
  • Pain


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