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Open Access Research article

Experience with the delegation of anaesthesia for disbudding and castration to trained and certified livestock owners

Maher Alsaaod1, Marcus G Doherr2, Deborah Greber1 and Adrian Steiner1*

Author Affiliations

1 Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Berne 3012, Switzerland

2 Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Berne 3012, Switzerland

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:35  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-35

Published: 4 February 2014

Abstract

Background

Anaesthesia is mandatory for disbudding and castrating calves and lambs of any age, in Switzerland. According to the “anaesthesia delegation model” (ADM), anaesthesia for disbudding calves <3 weeks of age and castrating calves and lambs <2 weeks of age may be administered by certified farmers. Experience with this unique model is not available. The aim was to evaluate the experience of the veterinary practitioners with the ADM. The response rate was 42%. The survey consisted of one questionnaire for each procedure. Procedure I was the delegation of anaesthesia for disbudding calves and procedures II and III were anaesthesia for castrating calves and lambs.

Results

Procedure I was performed with local anaesthesia in all farms of 51.8% of the veterinary practices, while this was only 39.3% and 7.6% for procedures II and III (p < 0.001). Anaesthesia for procedure I was administered technically correctly by farmers in at least 66% of the farms of 58.3% of the practitioners, while this was 45.4% and only 23.6% for procedures II and III (p < 0.001). The ADM was assessed as a moderate to very good model to reinforce the legal obligations for procedures I, II, or III by 74.8%, 76.5% and 62.0% of the veterinary practitioners (p < 0.005).

Conclusions

The delegation of anaesthesia to certified farmers may be a promising model to reinforce the obligation to provide local anaesthesia for disbudding and castrating calves, but to a lesser extent for castrating lambs.