Home Articles for Vets Dehorning: Benefits, Potential Complications & Techniques

Dehorning: Benefits, Potential Complications & Techniques

by Asim Javed

Dehorning is the process of removing the fully grown horns of livestock. Cattle, sheep, and goats are sometimes dehorned for economic and safety reasons.

Benefits of Dehorning

  • Horns are removed because they can pose a risk to humans, other animals and to the bearers of the horns themselves (horns are sometimes caught in fences or prevent feeding
  • Increased space at the feedbunk
  • ease of transport, both through a facililty and during shipping
  • decreased trauma by caused by dominant and aggressive animals
  • decreased risk of injury to personnel

NOTE 1:- Dehorning is normally performed with local anesthesia and sedation,dehorning is not routinely performed, since it is a difficult and painful process for the animal
NOTE 2:- dehorning under the age of 2 weeks is strongly recommended:
1. Technically easier procedure
2. Ease of handling resulting in decreased stress
3. Decreased risk of hemorrhage

Potential Complications

  • Hemorrhage
  • Pain
  • Horn regrowth
  • Infection / Sinusiti


The mechanism behind dehorning is to permanently destroy or remove the horn-producing cells at the base of the bud, to prevent further growth
1. Electric or butane hot dehorning
2. Disbudding tube/spoon
3. Barnes dehorner/scoop
4. Dehorning paste

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