Technician Services – Calf Disbudding

Calf Disbudding Services

All animals that require removal of horn buds or horn tissue require an appropriately placed and effective local anaesthetic nerve block.

NZ studies have also shown sedating calves for disbudding is associated with reduced stress and pain behaviour and faster recovery times. This is why Anexa Vets use this approach. It’s a quick and effective method of disbudding, and allows other jobs to be done at the same time, such as vaccinating, ear tagging, ear notching for DNA or BVD, and extra teat removal.

Do the best for your calves this season. Speak to your vet about all of the pain relief options available for disbudding.

Book your calf disbudding now

Calf disbudding

Calf disbudding service options include:

    Sedation + local anaesthetic + Metacam pain relief - Recommended
    • Reduces the pain and stress associated with disbudding AND provides up to 3 days of anti-inflammatory pain relief
    • Horn bud cauterised by hot iron
    • Extra teats removed free of charge
    • Anexa Vets recommend additional pain relief, such as a long-acting anti-inflammatory. This will provide pain relief for at least 24 hours and anti-inflammatory action for up to 3 days, long after the local anaesthetic has worn off. Studies have shown that using anti-inflammatories at disbudding not only reduces calf pain behaviour and stress levels, but leads to better growth rates after disbudding compared to calves that don’t receive these drugs.
    Sedation plus local anaesthetic
    • Reduces the pain and stress associated with disbudding
    • Horn bud cauterised by hot iron
    • Extra teats removed free of charge
    • Studies have shown using a local anaesthetic nerve block to prevent pain during disbudding comes into effect within 4 minutes of administration and can last up to 3-4 hours. After this point, the anaesthetic wears off and the calf begins to feel pain. 

    Some important things to consider for disbudding:

    • Ideal age is between 2 – 8 weeks old
    • Calves must not be fed for at least 4 hours before disbudding when they are being sedated
    • It is important to remember that local anaesthetic must be used as a minimum requirement when disbudding and dehorning cattle, under the NZ Animal Welfare Act.

    Anexa Vets recommend BVD Ear-notching of replacement calves at disbudding

    • Easy.
    • Effective. Newly developed test. PIs found and culled very early. Don’t have to be over 35 days old.
    • Cost effective.
      Not sure? Talk to your Vet about the benefits of BVD ear notching.


    Please see the information sheet below for calf disbudding aftercare advice.


    Calf disbudding aftercare.pdf

    Fab team yesterday. Very thorough and took the time to get everything right.

    Kylie, Heavenly Moos

    5/5, Awesome professional service with the greatest care towards our calves. Much appreciated!

    A. McPike

    That was a lovely experience for the calves. No blood, no bleeders, and no deaths. So very impressed and I thank you very much.

    – Claire, Gracefields 

    From caring for your calves to milk replacer and feed – we’re here to help, for more information regarding rearing youngstock

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