Short communication: Effects of analgesic use postcalving on cow welfare and production.
The aim of this study was to assess the welfare and production of cows given an analgesic drug (carprofen, 1.4 mg/kg i.v.) within 6h after calving. The study was performed in a dairy farm with approximately 1,000 milking cows. Behavior, clinical indices, and production data (milk yield and fertility) of cows treated with carprofen (n = 19) or a placebo (n = 20) were compared. Additionally, differences related to parity (primiparous vs. multiparous) were analyzed. No significant differences were observed in the time of placental expulsion or incidence of clinical disease over the 3 d postpartum, but more animals from the analgesia group were observed eating during the first hours after calving.For unassisted calvings, the rectal temperature 24h postpartum was lower in the cows given analgesic. Total lactation yields at 305 d in milk were higher in the primiparous cows treated with carprofen. Fewer cows were pregnant at 220 d postpartum in the treated group as the use of carprofen increased the time from calving to conception. This study suggests that pain management after parturition leads to earlier feed intake after calving and that this may lead to higher milk yield in first-lactation animals.