Back to Research & Development

Report Detail Page

Accelerating healing of calf frontal sinuses exposed by dehorning

Gauze swabs (7.5 cm square patches) were placed on the dehorning wounds in 24 of 50 tropically-adapted heifers weighing 180-200 kg. Frontal sinus exposure averaged 3.5 cm in diameter. Application of swabs reduced haemorrhage (P<0.01). Half the patches were dislodged within a day of surgery, and 80% of these within an hour. The remainder sloughed 10-44 days after surgery. Patches sealed exposed frontal sinuses from the time of application if they were not dislodged. Sealing took up to 4 weeks in 96% of un-patched wounds. Patches reduced purulent exudation from 11% to 1% of wounds (P<0.01), ie, it substantially reduced secondary bacterial infection. No fly strike occurred in patched wounds. There was a non-significant trend for patched wounds to reach the post-scab healing phase (6-13 weeks after surgery) earlier than un-patched wounds. 

The incidence of behaviours indicating pain was high in the 2-3 days after surgery and abated over 2 weeks. Behavioural data indicated that dehorned calves should be segregated from other cattle after surgery and that pasture feeding is recommended over hand feeding in this period. Patches had no impact on pain. Use of patches is recommended, though a cost-effective method to increase adherence will improve their efficacy.


Title Size Date published
390.3KB 22/01/2014


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Accelerating healing of calf frontal sinuses exposed by dehorning
21/06/2013 23/12/2013

This page was last updated on 31/07/2018