To study the effects of oromucosal detomidine gel administered sublingually to calves prior to disbudding, and to compare its efficacy with intravenously (IV) administered detomidine.Study design
Randomised, prospective clinical study.Animals
Twenty dairy calves aged 12.4 ± 4.4days (mean ± SD), weight 50.5 ± 9.0 kg.Methods
Detomidine at 80 μg kg−1 was administered to ten calves sublingually (GEL) and at 30 μg kg−1 to ten control calves IV (V. jugularis). Meloxicam (0.5 mg kg−1) and local anaesthetic (lidocaine 3 mg kg−1) were administered before heat cauterization of horn buds. Heart rate (HR), body temperature and clinical sedation were monitored over 240 minutes. Blood was collected from the V. cephalica during the same period for drug concentration analysis. Pharmacokinetic variables were calculated from the plasma detomidine concentration-time data using non-compartmental methods. Statistical analyses compared routes of administration by Student's t-test and linear mixed models as relevant.Results
The maximum plasma detomidine concentration after GEL was 2.1 ± 1.2 ng mL−1 (mean ±SD) and the time of maximum concentration was 66.0 ± 36.9 minutes. The bioavailability of detomidine was approximately 34% with GEL. Similar sedation scores were reached in both groups after administration of detomidine, but maximal sedation was reached earlier in the IV group (10 minutes) than in the GEL group (40 minutes). HR was lower after IV than GEL from 5 to 10 minutes after administration. All animals were adequately sedated, and we were able to administer local anaesthetic without resistance to all of the calves before disbudding.Conclusions and clinical relevance
Oromucosally administered detomidine is an effective sedative agent for calves prior to disbudding.