Evaluation of anaesthesia and analgesia quality during disbudding of goat kids by certified Swiss farmers.

Wagmann, Nicole; Spadavecchia, Claudia; Morath, Ute; Schüpbach, Gertraud Irene; Zanolari, Patrik (2018). Evaluation of anaesthesia and analgesia quality during disbudding of goat kids by certified Swiss farmers. BMC veterinary research, 14(1), p. 220. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12917-018-1544-7

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Certified Swiss farmers are allowed to disbud their goat kids using a standard intramuscularly administered anaesthetic mixture. This mixture, containing xylazine and ketamine, is officially distributed with the goal to provide a painless disbudding. This study aimed to evaluate the quality of analgesia and anaesthesia achieved during disbudding, when performed by Swiss farmers. To assess this, 174 goat kids at 31 different farms were observed and filmed during cautery disbudding.


The standard anaesthetic mixture (0.05 mg/kg xylazine and 20 mg/kg ketamine) was used only in 71 goat kids. Fifty-eight goat kids were anaesthetised with different dosages of xylazine (median 0.18 mg/kg) and ketamine (median 10 mg/kg), 22 with xylazine only (median 0.61 mg/kg), 20 with xylazine (median 1.84 mg/kg) and perineural lidocaine (median 1.23 mg/kg), three with acepromazine (dosage unknown) and ketamine (10 mg/kg). Based on vocalisation, limb movement and head lifting during disbudding, a general reaction score was attributed to 168 goat kids (six were excluded due to firm restraint): 56.5% were scored zero (no limb movement, no vocalisation), 7.7% one, 17.3% two and 18.5% three (strong movements, vocalisation). Significant risk factors for higher reaction scores were the type of anaesthetic protocol and manipulation by the farmer during induction. Significant risk factors for longer recoveries were use of xylazine alone or xylazine in combination with perineural lidocaine, breed, younger age and recovery underneath heat lamp.


The present study indicates that anaesthesia and analgesia of goat kids disbudded by Swiss farmers is inadequate, as 35.8% of the animals showed moderate to strong behavioural reactions during the procedure. Unexpectedly, only 40.8% of the goat kids were anaesthetised with the standard anaesthetic mixture and several other protocols were used. A refinement of the recommended protocol is urgently needed to guarantee animal welfare.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > DKV - Anaesthesiology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)

UniBE Contributor:

Wagmann, Nicole, Spadavecchia, Claudia, Morath, Ute, Schüpbach-Regula, Gertraud Irene, Zanolari, Patrik


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




BioMed Central




Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

19 Jul 2018 14:19

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:31

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Anaesthesia Analgesia Cautery disbudding Goat kid Switzerland





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