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Morbidity, mortality and body weight gain of surgically spayed, yearling Brahman heifers

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McCosker, K. D., Letchford, P., Petherick, J.C., Mayer, D. G. and McGowan, M. R. (2010) Morbidity, mortality and body weight gain of surgically spayed, yearling Brahman heifers. Australian Veterinary Journal, 88 (12). pp. 497-503. ISSN 0005-0423

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.2010.00646.x


Objective  To determine morbidity and mortality rates in yearling heifers spayed by two methods under commercial conditions in northern Australia.

Design  In study 1,600 Brahman heifers were allocated to one of three treatments: physical restraint and ear-tagging (Control); physical restraint, ovariectomy by the Willis dropped ovary technique, ear-tagging and ear-marking (WDOT); or electroimmobilisation, ovariectomy via flank incision, ear-tagging and ear-marking (Flank). Heifers were monitored post spaying. Mortalities occurred at unanticipated times, so study 2 investigated their timing and cause in similar WDOT-spayed heifers (n = 574).

Results  In study 1, morbidity on the day of spaying was 6.0% in the Flank and 2.7% in the WDOT group (not statistically different). Spayed heifers showed behaviours indicative of acute pain/discomfort in the 6 h post spaying. Body weights and gains were significantly lower in the spayed compared with control heifers at days 21 and 42, and 5% of flank wounds were not healed at day 42. Mortalities were 0%, 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively, for Control, WDOT (3 estimated to have occurred on day 11) and Flank (2 on the day after spaying and 1 on each of days 5, 11 and 22). In study 2, the mortality was 0.5%, all within 4 days of spaying.

Conclusions  In yearling heifers, WDOT spaying resulted in lower morbidity and short-term mortality compared with flank spaying. Both methods compromised the health and welfare of some animals for up to 4 days and body weight gains were reduced during the 6 weeks post spaying.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Animal culture > Breeding and breeds
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia > Queensland
Live Archive:09 Mar 2023 02:45
Last Modified:22 Jun 2023 05:08

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