Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Science

Major Professor

Marc Caldwell

Committee Members

Lew Strickland, David E. Anderson, Peter Krawczel


Pain mitigation for surgical procedures is a topic of concern for the public, producers, and veterinarians. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of meloxicam for pain mitigation in adult lactating dairy cattle following a right-side laparotomy with omentopexy. Twenty-four dairy cattle (mean age: 2.51 +/- 0.54 years) were enrolled. Cattle were assigned blocks based on parity, days in milk, milk yield, and pregnancy status, and randomly allocated to groups Meloxicam (MEL) or placebo treated control (CON). The study had two phases; sham (day 0-14) and surgery (day 15-28). On day 0, cattle were prepared for surgery. Injectable meloxicam (MEL) or saline placebo (CON) was administered (dose: 0.5 mg/kg) 5 minutes before simulated surgery (restraint for 30 minutes). On day 15, the surgical procedure was performed. Meloxicam or saline were administered prior to surgery. A right flank laparotomy, brief abdominal exploration, and omentopexy was performed on all animals. Blood was collected via jugular catheter at hours 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, & 72 during both phases for cortisol, and at hours 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, 72, 96, 120, 144, & 168 for haptoglobin, PGE2, and fibrinogen. Mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) was measured using an algometer and collected at hours 0, 1, 4, & 8 after sham and hours 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, & 72 after surgery. Infrared thermography (IRT) was taken of the incision site at hours 0, 1, 4, & 8 hours after sham and 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, & 72 after surgery. PGE2 concentrations displayed a treatment by time interaction where concentrations were higher in the CON animals (P = 0.003). Total cortisol concentrations were significantly increased in CON 4 hours post-operatively (P=0.004). Haptoglobin was significantly increased in CON 72 and 96 hours post-operatively (P< 0.001). There was no difference for fibrinogen (P=0.43), MNT (P=0.24) or IRT (P=0.68). This study indicates using meloxicam significantly reduces biomarkers of inflammation and indirect measures of pain and suggests meloxicam is effective in mitigating post-operative pain in adult lactating dairy cattle.


An abstract of for this paper was previously published and has been updated in since its presentation.

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