The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a single subcutaneous injection of meloxicam on scrotal healing, inflammatory response, and behaviour in castrated or castrated and branded beef calves for 42 d post procedure. Seventy-two 2-mo-old Angus crossbred bull calves were used to assess the effects of procedure (Trt): (1) sham control, (2) knife castration, and (3) knife castration and hot-iron branding; and pain mitigation (Med): (1) nonmedicated and (2) medicated with meloxicam according to a 3 × 2 factorial design. Body weight, scrotal circumference (SC), and healing scores were collected weekly until day 42. Blood samples were collected weekly until day 42 to assess haptoglobin, serum amyloid-A, and complete blood cell count. Hair was collected on day −1 and day 42 to assess cortisol concentrations. Lying and standing behaviour were recorded for 42 d, whereas pain-related behaviours were recorded on days 7, 15, 22, 29, and 34 post procedure. The inflammatory response (SC) and duration of standing was greater (P < 0.05) in calves castrated and branded than those only castrated. However, meloxicam did not reduce inflammation or improve wound healing in either castrated or castrated and branded calves.
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