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Disbudding

Our livestock veterinarians at Adobe Veterinary Center are pleased to provide disbudding surgery services for goats, sheep, and calves, as a part of our comprehensive livestock care.

What Is Disbudding?

Unlike dehorning, which is a more complicated surgery to remove fully formed horns from a matured animal, disbudding simply removes the cells that would grow into horns on a young calf, kid, or lamb before they have the chance to fully develop.

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The Benefits of Disbudding Livestock

Disbudding livestock has become common practice for farm animals due to the following benefits:

  • Safer handling for handlers and veterinarians
  • Reduced risk of injury to other stock, animals, and mates
  • Reduced risk of self-injury due to getting caught in feed barriers, fences, or other structures
  • Reduced risk of horn-related property damage
  • Eliminated risk of problems due to broken horns

Additionally, disbudded livestock are considered more desirable. As a result, they tend to carry a higher price, if you plan on selling your stock.

The Disbudding Process, Pain Management, and After Care

The disbudding process varies slightly depending on the species of livestock and the method being used. Various methods exist including cauterization with an electric iron and chemical removal.
Depending on the species of livestock being treated and the recommended disbudding method, your livestock may or may not require general anesthesia for the process. In all cases, local anesthesia will be used to mitigate pain during the procedure. Additionally, we might recommend pre-operative anti-inflammatory medications, a postoperative anesthetic, and post-operative anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain.
Our veterinarian will provide you with further aftercare instructions tailored to your livestock’s environment and condition.

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When to Perform Disbudding on Livestock

For the easiest removal and best results, livestock should be disbudded as early as possible (usually within the first two weeks of life) before the animals’ horns have developed. Waiting longer could result in horns that have developed too far for disbudding to be possible. As a result, an older animal might require a more complicated surgical procedure for the safe removal of its horns.

Learn More About Livestock Disbudding With Our Tucson Veterinarian

In addition to disbudding surgery, we offer a comprehensive list of wellness and preventative care services tailored specifically to treating young livestock and ensuring proper development. If your goats, sheep, and/or cows are expecting new kids, lambs, or calves, we welcome you to contact Adobe Veterinary Center to learn more about our disbudding services, livestock veterinary care, or to schedule an appointment for disbudding surgery.