A strong farmer or veterinarian and some skill, that is all that was needed to dehorn a calf in the past. However, some sedation makes the life of the farmer easier and calf welfare benefits as well. Sedation and anaesthetics can be administered to reduce pain and discomfort for as less as €1 per calf.
The veterinarian visits the farm twice a month, taking with him the essential dehorning tools.
After being connected to a power supply it takes a good 10 minutes for the dehorning devise is hot enough to start dehorning.
In the meantime the veterinarian prepares the syringes and fills them up with a sedative.
The sedative is administered directly into a vein.
After a short while the effect is visible, the calf is clearly dazed.
After the first sedation a local anaesthetic is injected to reduce further pain.
After treatment it is clearly visible where the horn was seated, it has been removed up to the depth of the scull bone.
To prevent inflammation the vet treats the wounds with a betadine spray. Also he injects the calf with another long lasting sedative to reduce after pain.
It only takes half an hour before the calf is on his feet and active again. The long lasting sedative works for another 72 hours. Research has shown after pain is the worst 44 hours after dehorning.