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To evaluate IM injection of oxytetracycline as an experimental model to induce pain and assess the analgesic efficacy of flunixin meglumine (FM) in dairy cows.


15 healthy nonlactating Jersey (n = 10) and Holstein (5) cows.


In the first of 2 experiments, 5 Jerseys were administered oxytetracycline (10 mg/kg, IM), divided between the right side of the neck and left hind limb. The left side of the neck and right hind limb received sham injections. Cows were also randomly assigned to receive FM (2.2 mg/kg, IV; n = 3) or an equal volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (0.044 mL/kg, IV; control; 2) once daily for 5 days. The mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) was measured before oxytetracycline administration and at predetermined times after each injection of the assigned treatment. Experiment 2 was similar to experiment 1 except it involved 5 Jerseys and 5 Holsteins, oxytetracycline was injected only in a hind limb, and the assigned treatment was administered for 10 days.


For both experiments, mean MNT for the oxytetracycline injection site was consistently less than that for the sham injection site in the hind limbs, and mean MNT at the hind limb oxytetracycline injection site for FM-treated cows was greater than that for control cows beginning on day 3.


IM injection of oxytetracycline in a hind limb reliably induced signs of pain in dairy cows and, with validation, might be useful as an experimental model for assessing pain mitigation strategies in cattle.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research